Enhancing Judicial Skills (EJS) in Domestic Violence Cases

judge in courtroom

The Institute continues to offer this three-day, hands-on, highly interactive education workshop provided more than 3,500 judges nationwide since 1999. The program provides the essential foundation for new and experienced judges who handle criminal, civil, and family law cases involving domestic violence.

Three workshops are scheduled annually for judges and judicial officers (for dates and locations, see Upcoming Programs, below). At the four-day workshop, all participant-judges will engage in practical courtroom exercises and lively discussions with their student and faculty peers. The interactive format, tailored to workshop participants’ needs, will enable new and experienced judges to take home fresh ideas and techniques on how to handle difficult, complex issues in cases involving domestic violence.


Judicial participants will leave the workshops with greater knowledge and skills for handling cases involving domestic violence. Judges participating in the workshop will be better able to:

  • Evaluate impact of violence on adult victims and children who witness violence.
  • Identify the protection and restoration requirements of domestic violence victims.
  • Describe patterns of batterer conduct, assess dangerousness of specific batterers, and impose effective intervention and accountability mechanisms for batterers.
  • Resolve difficult evidentiary issues and apply an understanding of domestic violence to judicial fact-finding.
  • Identify administrative and community barriers to accessing/ achieving justice in DV cases.
  • Devise methods of overcoming barriers to justice, become motivated to work to remove barriers, and use information regarding available community resources to assist in removing barriers.
  • Recognize and apply ethics rules that govern participation in extrajudicial activities, e.g., domestic violence councils, legislative proposals, local court rulemaking, and education programs of non-judge providers.
  • Define culture and cultural competence, enhance respect for the dynamics of difference, and identify ways in which culture is relevant in the courtroom.
  • Identify common decision-making points where understanding DV might affect how you make decisions and what you decide.
  • Draft and issue effective orders that (a) stop violence, (b) protect adult victims & children, (c) require appropriate batterers treatment in criminal and civil DV cases, and (d) facilitate enforcement in DV cases.
  • Assess the impact of domestic violence on cases involving sentencing, custody and visitation issues.
  • Evaluate batterers intervention programming and information regarding appropriate treatment/intervention options.
  • Identify the potential benefits of conducting review hearings (in conjunction w/ probation services) to monitor batterer conduct in DV cases.

Eligibility and Costs

Participation in each program is limited to 50 judges. All law-trained state and tribal court judges and judicial officers nationwide are eligible to attend the workshops, but priority will be given to judges from jurisdictions currently receiving one of the following OVW Grants:

(1) Grants to Encourage Arrest,

(2) STOP Violence Against Indian Women Grants, or

(3) Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Enforcement Grant Program. Priority is also given to OVW funded jurisdictions that send more than one judge. Priority will also be given to judges who have not attended the workshop previously.

The program’s interactive format ensures that workshop meets the education needs of judges at all experience levels, providing them with solid foundational materials applicable in all types of cases involving domestic violence. This workshop is a prerequisite for attending the mid-level Continuing Judicial Skills (CJS) in Domestic Violence Cases Program, described below.

The program is offered free of charge. An activity fee covers the expenses of a group dinner and a reception, which cannot be financed with OVW grant funds.

Some courts might cover their judges’ travel and per diem expenses. All participants are responsible for their own travel and per diem expenses if they cannot obtain funding from another source.

Upcoming EJS Programs



EJS Application and Attendance

Participation is open to new and experienced state, tribal, and territorial judges and judicial officers wishing to enhance their skills in handling civil and criminal domestic violence cases. Participation is limited to 50 judges and judicial officers. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

For additional information, please click here or contact Brianne Smith at (775) 784-1559 or e-mail bsmith@ncjfcj.org.

There is no charge for the workshop. Participants are responsible for their own lodging, travel arrangements, and costs. For more information on the workshop, travel, and lodging, please visit www.njidv.org, or contact the registrar. Please not not make travel arrangements until you have been confirmed by the registrar.