CITY OF BELLEVUE, WA
Mayor Ron Smith
 

Stipulated Order of Continuance Program

In May 1983, advocates for victims of domestic violence met with concerned police and probation representatives in Bellevue to brainstorm about effective methods of dealing with domestic violence in the community.

The committee members agreed that they needed an approach to domestic violence that was both comprehensive and systematic.

Comprehensive in that agencies that intervene with the couple could coorinate their efforts. Therefore, once an arrest had been made, police, city prosecutors, judges, probation, victim's advocates and batterer's counselors needed to immediately agree on the best treatment for each couple.

Systematic in that incidents and treatment could be followed over time on each couple. An understanding could be gained by documenting each incident from the moment the police were called (no matter how early in the cycle of escalating violence) until the termination of treatment and/or criminal proceedings.

At this point, the Bellevue Stipulated Order of Continuance Program became specific. Community representatives were selected to serve on a formal planning committee. The planning committee agreed that the overall purpose of the program was to recognize that violence in the community is not acceptable, and individuals should be held accountable for their violent acts.

They also decided that their efforts would focus on misdemeanor cases occurring within Bellevue city limits in order to keep the scope of the program manageable. If felony cases had been included, the number of involved agencies would have increased dramatically. Instead, the program requires only one police department, one city prosecutor's office, one district court with two judges, one probation department, the only victim's advocacy agency in the area and a non-profit batterer's counseling service in the city.

The planning committee initially chose one member to coordinate the agencies and maintain program momentum. The program coordinator's major responsibilities are to organize monthly meetings, to resolve personality and procedural conflicts, and to manage the evolution of the program. Statistics are collected and distributed as the program is implemented.

The committee developed specific procedures and allocated staff and supplies to the program. The committee meets during their own lunch hour so as to minimize time away from their other duties. No substantial outside money was available initially, although the Bellevue Police Department authorized one part-time clerk to assist the lieutenant serving as program coordinator. In addition, the city of Bellevue subsequently made block grants available to Eastside Mental Health and Eastside Domestic Violence Program for their increased client loads as a result of this program.

The Bellevue Stipulated Order of Continuance Program (SOC) is basically a diversion program for batterers who have been arrested for an act of domestic violence. The program offers the option of avoiding trial by following court-approved conditions emphasizing counseling needs.

The program could not have developed unless each community agency put away its biases long enough to achieve a more effective approach to the problem of domestic violence in Bellevue. Each agency committed itself to making the program a priority; presently, all of the agencies agree that the results have justified their efforts.

CONTACT: Captain Linda Pillo, P.O. Box 90012, Bellevue, WA 98009-9012, Telephone - (206) 455-6917, Fax - (206) 688-2880.

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