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Watchdog Group Says Courts Doing Better Job In Montgomery Co.

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Laurie Duker, executive director of Court Watch Montgomery, offered her list of safety recommendations for domestic violence victims to Montgomery County in October.
Markette Smith
Laurie Duker, executive director of Court Watch Montgomery, offered her list of safety recommendations for domestic violence victims to Montgomery County in October.

A watchdog group says courts in Montgomery County have improved, but not enough, when it comes to shielding domestic violence victims from their alleged attackers when they face each other in court.

Last October, Court Watch Montgomery put out a scathing report, saying judges and courthouse personnel were putting domestic violence victims in "unnecessary" danger by making it easy for their alleged attackers to confront their accusers outside of courtrooms while still inside the courthouse.

Six months later, Court Watch reports improvements, including greater use of "staggered exits" from courtrooms, where victims are allowed to leave first and get to their transportation while the alleged abuser is held back in the chamber. The group says much more must still be done, citing one example where a victim was stopped inside a courthouse by her ex-partner as she tried to attend a restraining order hearing.

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