Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer


Parties to a legal action of child abuse can be prosecuted criminally as well as charged with allegations within the jurisdiction of juvenile/dependency court. This can lead to seemingly conflicting goals regarding contact and visitation between the two parties (victim and defendant; child and parent). In essence, restraining orders or visitation orders from one court can contradict the case goals of another court. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to (a) determine if there is a pattern of inconsistent goals in cases of concurrent jurisdictional child-abuse cases, (b) evaluate the effect of conflicting court orders on each jurisdiction's cases, and (c) examine the ability of these courts to process cases in a timely manner in light of both courts' goals and concerns. Previous to this study, scholarly literature surrounding no-contact orders was limited to domestic violence and criminal contexts. There is no current scholarly research addressing the treatment of no-contact orders in concurrent jurisdiction cases. This study utilized standardized surveys, one-on-one interviews, and observations to evaluate and examine the areas of inquiry. Participants were chosen for their extensive knowledge and professional duties regarding both the juvenile/dependency and criminal court systems. The results of this research indicate that many participants considered these two jurisdictions to maintain contradictory goals, which is particularly problematic in contact/no-contact orders. Participants found the issue of restraining orders in this context to manifest in unfairness, confusion, and delay. A myriad of recommendations are offered in an effort to assist this county, as well as others, in its promotion of fairness to court participants and parties of these concurrent cases.

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