Appropriation; DV Court

Appropriates funds to family court to establish a dedicated
domestic violence court and to provide related services.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that domestic violence
 2 continues to be the greatest threat to the safety and welfare of
 3 families in our community.  The Hawaii Crime Brief issued by the
 4 attorney general in April 1996, found that nearly thirty per cent
 5 of all homicides from 1985-1994 in Hawaii were the result of
 6 domestic violence.  A study conducted by the Hawaii state
 7 commission on the status of women (1993) estimated that nearly
 8 fifty thousand women in Hawaii between the ages of eighteen and
 9 sixty-four have been victims of domestic violence.  Further,
10 among women who are murdered in Hawaii, the majority are killed
11 as a result of a dispute involving someone with whom they have an
12 intimate relationship.
13      The legislature further finds that while arrests for
14 domestic violence have increased over the past decade, the
15 conviction rate remains at about thirty per cent.  Without a
16 conviction, neither the offender nor the victim can receive
17 court-ordered domestic violence intervention services which can
18 help them break the cycle of violence.  Existing law also
19 requires the court, whenever possible, to provide victims with a

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 1 secure waiting area during court proceedings to avoid contact
 2 with offenders.  
 3      The legislature further finds that although the judiciary,
 4 and the family courts in particular have been very responsive to
 5 the problem of domestic violence, the domestic violence working
 6 group recognizes that victims need increased support and
 7 services.  The judiciary, including the family courts, have
 8 devoted resources and initiated procedures which have resulted in
 9 improved court practices.  Their commitment in maintaining
10 domestic violence as a priority has been valuable.  This Act
11 represents an enhancement in the community's efforts to address
12 violence.
13      Victims would be greatly helped by the improved expeditious
14 judicial handling of domestic violence cases that a dedicated
15 domestic violence court would provide.  The court should be
16 created with the flexibility to add or increase services as the
17 need develops and as the court is able to provide, based upon its
18 resources.  Thus, the purpose of this Act is to provide
19 additional funds to the judiciary to establish a dedicated
20 domestic violence court and related services for victims and
21 their families.
22      SECTION 2.  There is appropriated out of the general
23 revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $250,000, or so much

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                                     H.B. NO.           

 1 thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2000-2001, to
 2 establish within the family court a court dedicated to the
 3 handling of domestic violence cases, and the sum of $250,000, or
 4 so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2000-2001, to
 5 provide related services for victims and their families.
 6      SECTION 3.  The sums appropriated shall be expended by the
 7 judiciary for the purposes of this Act.
 8      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2000.
10                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________