Information for Professionals

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:

CourtAddressSDVC sitting
Exeter (Central)Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LSAll day Wednesday
North (Barnstaple)The Law Courts, Civic Centre, BarnstapleEX31 1DXFriday 12.00 noon
SouthNewfoundland Way, Newton Abbott, TQ12 1NGAll day Wednesday