Court Watch

For over 130 years, NCJW has worked to advance the well being of women and children including the elimination of, and protection from, all forms of harassment, violence, abuse, and exploitation. NCJW was active in the coalition supporting the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act and today works to ensure that VAWA’s promise is fulfilled.

According to the National Network to End Domestic violence, in a single day, domestic violence programs served almost 65,000 adults and children in the United States in 2012. However, a significant number of requests — more than 10,000 — went unmet because domestic violence agencies lacked the funding and staff to meet the demand. Internationally, the threat of gender-based violence is even more staggering: experts estimate that up to one in three women will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in their lifetimes, with rates reaching 70 percent in some countries.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in 2014 nearly 65,800 intimate partner violence incidents were reported to Illinois law enforcement. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes.

There were 231,536 calls to the Illinois Child Abuse Hotline in 2014. 26,785 children were indicated as victims of child abuse. Of these children, 26% were age 2 or younger. What is our community response to Domestic Violence?

In August 1999, NCJW Chicago North Shore, in conjunction with the Evanston North Shore NOW, initiated a Domestic Violence Court Watch Program at the 2nd Municipal Court of Cook County in Skokie.  DV Court covers the following municipalities: Des Plaines, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka.

Court Watch Mission:

To contribute an impartial assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of the Domestic Violence Court and the quality of its judges and personnel, and to advocate for needed community services for families affected by domestic violence

Court Watch Objectives:

  1. To make those involved in the judicial process aware of public interest and concern about the outcome of domestic violence cases through the Court Watch program’s observations and assessments.
  2. To encourage the criminal justice system to be more efficient, responsive, and professional in handling domestic violence cases.
  3. To work toward better victim support services through the collection of data that will help improve prosecution and conviction rates against perpetrators of domestic violence.

NCJW Court Watch organizes community volunteers to monitor both criminal and civil court proceedings to make sure DV’s victims get appropriate, efficient and effective protection and offenders are held accountable. The Court Watch Program adds a layer of accountability to law enforcement and the judiciary and demonstrates the community’s’ concern about these crimes. Court Watchers are impartial observers who monitor court proceedings, gather and report statistical data that provides the court with information that is objective and unbiased.

The 2nd Municipal Courthouse is located at 5600 Old Orchard Road in Skokie. Domestic Violence Court is held on Mondays thru Thursdays and has morning sessions which start at 9:30AM and afternoon sessions which start at 1:30PM. Sessions generally last up to 3 hours.  While there is no limit on the number of times Court Watchers can volunteer, we ask that volunteers commit to observing at least 1 to 2 sessions each month.

If you are interested in participating in this important community service program, email [email protected] or call 847-853-8889.