In Seattle there is a pilot program entitled ‘Domestic Violence Intervention Program’. People ‘in the know’ call it ‘DVIP’.
DVIP is a treatment program for defendants that have – or are facing – misdemeanor domestic violence related charges. The program incorporates the following features to help probationers, (1) court monitoring, (2) group and/or individual counseling, and, if necessary, (3) referrals to substance abuse and/or mental health treatment. DVIP has been operating in Seattle since June 2018.
In DVIP, domestic violence defendants are handled with an eye towards rehabilitation, not punishment. In short, programs like Seattle’s DVIP are intended to identify offenders’ underlying needs, such as housing, mental health services, or addiction treatment, and connect them to resources while they undergo behavioral therapy. It is hoped this curbs recidivism.
In Seattle, the DVIP process begins with a referral from the Municipal Court, either as part of a plea or other type of resolution with the City Attorney’s Office. The court does not refer every DV misdemeanor offender to DVIP; it only refers those who show some willingness to be accountable for their actions and who are able to participate in the treatment program.
Those in DVIP are sent to one of two treatment providers—Anger Control Treatment and Therapies (ACT&T) or Asian Counseling and Referral Services (ACRS)—for a risk assessment. The City Attorney’s Office has agreed to give offenders immunity from prosecution during the assessment, and any details they share about the abuse they’ve committed aren’t used in court or trial. Based on the assessment, the court (via the treatment provider) assign offenders to appropriate levels of treatment based on the intensity of their abuse, their rehabilitative needs, and their expressed commitment to change their behavior. During DVIP, offenders appear before the court for periodic progress reviews to ensure compliance.
Other Washington courts in-and-around western Washington handle their domestic violence cases differently. They don’t have such a structured program in place. Many defense attorneys believe DVIP is a bit too ‘heavy handed’ and is too formulaic for their, or their client’s, liking. That said, DVIP certainly is a better alternative to a punitive conviction that carries jail time. So, in Seattle, you may be relegated to taking the good with the bad, and that may be the best one can hope for in certain situations.
If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge (domestic violence or otherwise), don’t hesitate to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal attorneys that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.