Following is the Executive Summary of an evaluation of court-based Domestic Violence Advocates in Alaska. The full report can be seen at: http://viewer.zoho.com/api/urlview.do?url=http://www.ajc.state.ak.us/Reports/DVReport8-07.pdf
The Alaska Court System asked the Judicial Council to evaluate parts of the court’s domestic
violence programs funded by the GTEA program.
The Council assessed the effectiveness of court-based advocates for petitioners in the protective order process, collected data about the civil protective order petitions filed in Anchorage, and interviewed practitioners about procedures for
making decisions in the protective order process.
• Advocates served more female petitioners than other groups, but in most areas also served
male petitioners, and some respondents.
• Generally, court staff said that advocates performed many tasks that court staff could not: they
helped petitioners organize their materials for their petitions, calmed upset parties, referred
parties to resources, and explained the court processes in detail. Court staff believed that
advocates performed these tasks well and greatly benefitted the court and petitioners.
• In Anchorage and Kenai there were extended periods when the advocates were not present.
Court staff missed their presence and encouraged their return.
• Relationships between advocates and court staff generally were good, although all
stakeholders wanted regular meetings to work out problems. In some instances, lack of
direction and guidance about the advocate’s role led to misunderstandings. Court staff and
advocates resolved concerns about the court’s need to be perceived as neutral and impartial.
Hearings on Ex parte Petitions
• The Council found that judicial officers at all locations decided some ex parte petitions without
a hearing. Palmer decided almost all of its ex parte petitions in this fashion. Anchorage and
Fairbanks decided some ex parte petitions without a hearing, and Kenai held hearings on most
• The reasons given for deciding ex parte petitions without a hearing included due process and
statutory concerns (Palmer), time constraints (Anchorage), staff and space constraints (Palmer
and Fairbanks), comfort and reduced trauma for the petitioners (Anchorage), and petitioner