DAP Enhances Recruitment Efforts at Veterans Court

Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Jodi vet court croppedWith the Change Step Program entering its fifth year, Domestic Abuse Project is expanding the program’s recruiting efforts to reach even more veterans who use abusive behavior through targeted outreach at the Hennepin County Veterans Court. Jodi Schipp, the Change Step case manager at Domestic Abuse Project, attends Veterans Court every other week to follow-up on her clients’ cases as well as extend information about DAP to potential new clients. The Hennepin County Veterans Court is a problem solving court that serves veterans charged with a criminal offense, including domestic violence. The Veterans Court program differs from regular county court in that it combines more frequent court appearances with intensive probation supervision. More frequent judicial reviews, as well as the support of the programs at the Veteran’s Affairs, allows for a veteran’s rehabilitation be monitored closer than at other courts in the county.

A veteran’s case will be referred to the Hennepin County Veterans Court upon agreement of both parties involved. A veteran is initially referred to the Veterans Court during their first court arraignment in a county courtroom.  After both parties’ consent is gained, every case is screened by a Court Screener to best conclude if a veteran is eligible for the Veterans Court program. Eligibility requires an individual to be a veteran, be charged in the county with a non-violent felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor offense, and be diagnosed with a treatable behavior such as mental illness or chemical dependency. A veteran accepted into the court program will be placed on probation by the judge and is assigned to a supervising probation officer. A veteran’s appearance in court will be more frequent at the beginning of their probation, sometimes being required to appear every 2 weeks. As the veteran stabilizes and engages in required programming their appearances will become less frequent. After graduating from Veterans Court, Judge Meyers requests a 6 month follow-up with each veteran as well.

So how does DAP play a role in the Hennepin County Veterans Court?  Veterans accepted into the court program with a domestic assault charge have one to two years during their probation to attend a domestic assault program of their choice. With this in mind, Jodi attends the Veterans Court several times a month to reach those veterans seeking treatment for using domestic violence in their relationships. Having herself served in the Minnesota National Guard for over 11 years with the Military Police, Jodi understands the difficulties veterans may face when military life ends; and she knows the treatment that can help them end their abusive behavior and learn healthy ways to engage in relationships.

The Domestic Abuse Project is one of the only domestic violence organizations in Minnesota that meets the state requirements for treating domestic abuse perpetrators and its victims. In addition, Change Step is the only program in the country centered towards treating veterans who have used abusive behavior. Continually improving DAP’s recruiting efforts, as well as collaborating with other veterans services, provides those veterans we recruit from the Hennepin County Veterans Court with the best treatment and support they can get in the state of Minnesota.

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