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Cook Co. launching domestic violence court

Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Daily Herald
by Barbara Vitello

Cook County will have a new court division devoted exclusively to domestic violence issues beginning Jan. 19, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced Wednesday.

It is among the recommendations by the blue-ribbon committee Evans appointed last year to review the county's handling of domestic violence cases at all five suburban locations including Rolling Meadows Third Municipal District.

The new division builds upon the circuit court's efforts to address an ever-increasing number of these cases. Those efforts began four years ago with the opening of the county's domestic violence court at 555 W. Harrison St. in Chicago.

"We are saying domestic violence continues to be a serious threat and deserves the added attention that this new division will bring to keep all those involved from falling through the cracks in the system," said Evans in a prepared statement.

The division allows for the expansion of the types of charges heard by domestic violence judges. It also provides victims with increased access to civil protection orders and allows them to obtain protective orders around the clock. It also provide more intensive court supervision for repeat offenders. Additionally, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, deputy sheriffs, probation, social service personnel and clerks working in the division will receive special training in domestic violence.

Judge Grace G. Dicker, chair of the domestic violence committee, will preside over the division. Appointed an associate judge in 1988, Dicker was assigned to the domestic relations division in 1991. Since 1999, she has presided over the domestic violence court at Skokie's Second Municipal District.

One task confronting the presiding judge will be to examine the ways the various districts address domestic violence proceedings and adapt the best of them throughout Cook County making a "far more effective and efficient system," Evans said.



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