Last updated: 20 May 2024

Next review: 11 September 2024

What is the specialist domestic violence court?

The Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC) was introduced to make it easier for people who have experienced domestic violence to:

  • come forward/access the criminal justice system
  • to improve the victim’s experience of the court process
  • to increase the proportion of successful outcomes.

The Specialist Domestic Violence Court at Thames Magistrates operates a remand and sentencing court every Thursday. The Specialist Domestic Violence Court at Stratford Magistrates operates Domestic Violence trial courts every Monday and Tuesday.

Key features of the Specialist Domestic Violence Court

  • Specially trained Court Personnel
  • Specially trained Prosecutors and Police who have a good awareness of the key features around domestic violence
  • Special Measures are put in place to improve the safety and experience of victims, such as separate entrances, exits and waiting areas. This is to ensure that victims do not come into contact with their attackers
  • Tailored support and advice for victims are available from Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA’s).

Effective case management and information sharing are practised across a range of agencies to reduce delays in the prosecution process and to increase successful outcomes within the court process. Measures for victims and witnesses to claim their expenses back if they are required to attend court are also available.

Victims and witnesses are also given the opportunity to have a pre-court visit organised through the Witness Service. This allows them to see what happens during a trial and to also request safety measures for their trial day.

Referral procedures

The service is only offered to victims and witnesses who are attending the Thames or Stratford Magistrates Court in relation to domestic abuse criminal proceedings.

For any further information, please contact:

Courts that cover Waltham Forest cases:

  • Thames Magistrates Court
    58 Bow Road
    E3 4DJ
  • Stratford Magistrates Court
    389-397 High Street
    E15 4SB

Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders

Domestic Violence Protection Notices (DVPNs) and Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) are a way to provide protection to victims of domestic abuse for up to 28 days. This gives the victim time to consider their options and get the support they need.

For more detailed information, see GOV.UK's page on domestic violence and abuse.