The Domestic Violence Section performs three primary functions:
- Helping survivors of intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, or stalking get civil protection orders (CPOs) through the Domestic Violence Intake Center;
- Prosecuting violations of CPOs; and
- Representing Adult Protective Services (APS) in obtaining guardians and conservators for incapacitated adults who are being abused, neglected, or financially exploited, or who are self-neglecting.
Domestic Violence Intake Center
The Domestic Violence Intake Center serves as a one stop shop for survivors of intimate partner violence, family violence, sexual assault, or stalking who want to bring criminal charges for violations of protection orders as well as individuals applying for child support related to domestic violence cases. The Office of the Attorney General staffs the reception desk; meets with individuals seeking help, and participates in a city-wide referral system through which intake center clients are connected to attorneys for representation in civil protection order cases.
In addition to the Court, the Office of the Attorney General partners with the following agencies to run the intake centers:
- SAFE (Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment)
- Metropolitan Police Department
- United States Attorney's Office
- Legal Aid Society
The Domestic Violence Intake Center is located at D.C. Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 4550. There is also a satellite center located at the United Medical Center, 1328 Southern Avenue, S.E., Suite 311.
Any person who has a temporary or civil protection order that has been violated may report that violation to the court by filing a motion for criminal contempt either at the Domestic Violence Intake Centers or directly in the court’s Domestic Violence clerk’s office. The Domestic Violence Section reviews every motion for criminal contempt filed with the court and decides whether to file charges. The section vertically prosecutes criminal contempt cases, meaning the same prosecutor handles the case from charging through post-conviction probation matters.
Adult Protective Services Representation
The Adult Protective Services (APS) hotline, 202-541-3950, receives reports and initiates investigations of alleged abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect of vulnerable adults. Vulnerable adults are those who suffer from a physical or mental impairment, self-neglect, or incapacity. On behalf of APS, the Domestic Violence Section files intervention cases which ask the court to appoint guardians and conservators to care for incapacitated individuals and their property. Individuals are incapacitated if their ability to receive and evaluate information or communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that they are unable to manage their financial resources or meet their physical health and safety needs. The section’s elder abuse advocate works closely with the APS attorney to help provide elderly victims access to needed services.
Coordinated Community Response
The Domestic Violence Section also participates in a variety of interagency efforts to coordinate and improve the city’s response to domestic violence. These efforts include: D.C. TROV (District’s Collaborative Training & Response for Older Victims); the Elder Abuse Prevention Committee; the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board; the High Risk Domestic Violence Intervention Team; VAN (Victim Assistance Network); VLNDC (Victim Legal Network of D.C.).
Domestic Violence Intake Centers
SAFE (Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment)
Metropolitan Police Department
United States Attorney’s Office (prosecutes all domestic violence crimes)
Legal Aid Society
D.C. Victim Hotline, 1-844-4HELPDC (844-443-5732)
D.C. VAN (Victim Assistance Network) (membership roster at bottom of page lists wide range of victim service providers in D.C.)