“This is a[n] issue we didn’t have when we had live court.” It was a chilling day for prosecutor Deborah Davis when she discovered a victim of domestic violence was in the same apartment as her abuser during a session of Zoom court. In this case, the survivor had done the hardest part; she had made the decision to prosecute her abuser. As court began, Davis saw that her client had a similar virtual background to the alleged abuser and noticed that her client was looking away from the camera while answering questions. This prompted Davis to request that police be sent to her client’s location, where officers discovered that the abuser was indeed sitting in the same room as the victim during court. The judge in this case applauded the police for following up so quickly with the victim and taking the defendant into custody and marveled at the fact that something like this could never have happened during live court. The story involving prosecutor Deborah Davis is one of many harrowing tales that exemplify the faults with using online forums for survivors of domestic violence. This story also represents one of many in which abusers can and do attempt to control the actions of a survivor.
Abuse Just Out of Frame: The Impact of Online Dispute Resolution on Domestic Violence,
2022 J. Disp. Resol.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/jdr/vol2022/iss1/8