Specialist Domestic Violence Courts

Specialist Domestic Violence Courts (SDVCs) in Devon

Devon has three specialist domestic violence courts (SDVC):

  • Central Devon (Exeter Magistrates Court)
  • North Devon (Barnstaple Magistrates Court)
  • South Devon (Newton Abbott)

The purpose of these courts is to improve the criminal justice response in cases where domestic violence-related crimes are being discussed.

Our experience, since running them in 2006, is that cases are heard quicker; there are fewer victim retractions because victims are better supported throughout the process; and there has been an increase in successful prosecutions.

There are several reasons for these improvements:

  • All court related staff (front of house, magistrates, victim support and witness care) have received specialist training
  • The court sits on specific days/times to ensure that the relevant, trained staff will be presiding over these cases
  • Specialist independent domestic violence advisors (idvas) provide support to victims who want it
  • The relevant agencies meet regularly to discuss how to continually improve their services

Details on Devon’s three SDVCs

Court Address SDVC sitting
Exeter (Central) Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LS All day Wednesday
North (Barnstaple) The Law Courts, Civic Centre, BarnstapleEX31 1DX Friday 12.00 noon
South Newfoundland Way, Newton Abbott, TQ12 1NG All day Wednesday