Criminal Justice Division 2014 Full Court Press Advance Training: Building capacity for expert witness trainers  (2015)

Researcher(s):

Project Sponsor(s)

  • Criminal Justice Division (CJD)
  • Texas Office of the Governor

Project Categories

Underserved populations are often at higher risk of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes and as such special attention is needed to address their unique needs and improve the court systems knowledge about and responses to these crimes in Texas. This project focuses on advanced training for participants who have attended the first expert witness training session. The major aim is to provide a training-of-the-trainers curriculum. The objective is for participants to return to their communities and host their own training and thus exponentially improve the court system knowledge about and responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes in Texas.

This project is designed to train the trainers from 12-15 sites in Texas about how to be an ethical expert witness in domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases in court settings. Because courts are comprised of a variety of professionals, ideally two member train-the-trainer teams will be interdisciplinary (e.g. consisting of some combination of a judge, a prosecutor, a law enforcement officer, and/or victim advocate). A four day training will be held in Austin, Texas and will focus on teaching participants pragmatic, effective, and valuable ways to become trainers. The goal will be that these trainers will carry the curriculum to their communities to educate their local courts jurisdictions (grand juries and juries, judges, probation officers, etc. and other members of the court) about domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and build local expertise.

Continuing education for lawyers and judges, peace officers, and victim advocates will be sought. The project is based on the rationale that: increased awareness and education of professionals that make up our court systems leads to increase responsiveness of this system to crimes of interpersonal violence, and ultimately victims.