The Delaware team decided to gather as much information as possible about the court’s current operations, to determine where changes were most needed and how best to improve the court’s handling of custody cases involving domestic violence. This information was used to formulate a comprehensive list of recommendations for the court. A variety of strategies were used:
- Affinity group conversations
- Case file review
- Deep impact review
- Court walk-throughs
Affinity group conversations
The site held community conversations with groups of various professionals as well as survivors.
Case file review
A crucial part of the site’s data collection activities involved a review of 200 case files, in both protection order and custody cases. These reviews provided a wealth of information about the parties, the allegations, the evidence, and the dispositions in these cases.
Deep impact review
A smaller number of files were selected for in-depth review and discussion. This process yielded additional detail about how custody cases involving domestic violence were processed and decided.
In another effort to gather data, judges and other professionals who thought they knew the court system took on the role of litigants, to see the system through their eyes. The experience was eye-opening as they realized they knew much less than expected about how families perceive the court process. The results sparked ideas for improvements in accessibility and transparency.