Greene County Judge launches domestic violence court with aim to help area families

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem in Greene County, and now one local judge is taking it upon himself to help change that through a new program known as domestic violence court.

Longtime Greene County Judge Calvin Holden said one the most important parts of domestic violence court will be accountability with the defendants.

"It is very important for the victims in these cases that someone's held accountable and held accountable quickly," Judge Holden said.

Holden said some 20 to 25 percent of the cases he sees everyday involve domestic violence. Similar in model to a drug or DWI court, Holden will stay in contact with probation and parole officers and other service providers, including those from treatment centers. He will see the defendants in his courtroom every two weeks to hold them accountable.

"It's not easy to say what success is, but if you can stop one more incident, 1 of 10 from happening or 1 out of 100 would be success," Holden said.

The court is a new effort Holden decided to make on his own without any additional funding to start, and his goal is to help lessen the recurrence of domestic violence in Greene County. Eventually he would like to see funding for psychological evaluations in the domestic violence court as well.

"I will know every two weeks whether they are seeing somebody they're not supposed to be seeing, whether they are going to treatment, how are you doing in treatment. The fact somebody is reported as, 'Well, they show up every week,' that doesn't mean they're actually getting the message through the treatment," Holden said.

Judge Holden said the court is something he has been working toward for several years but decided to launch it officially last Friday.

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