CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis launched a domestic violence pilot program in the Kanawha County court system Friday that will change the way cases are handled.
Under the four-year pilot program, all domestic violence cases will be handled by Family Court Judge Mike Kelly and consolidate the civil and criminal aspects of the case.
In the past, 10 magistrates and five family court judges handled the cases, which split the issues between courts.
"It is time to stop the senseless violence in our state," Davis said in a news release. "Domestic violence is not just a family problem -- it's the entire community's problem."
Davis joined Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman, Kanawha County Magistrate Julie Yeager, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants and other officials in Chief Circuit Judge Louis H. "Duke" Bloom's courtroom to unveil the program.
The goal of the program is to hold domestic violence offenders more accountable, focus on early intervention, and work more closely with agencies that help victims.
The Supreme Court chose to establish the program in Kanawha County because it handles the largest volume of domestic violence cases each year.