Domestic violence exhibit debuts at Supreme Court Learning Center

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Justice Michael Cavanagh talks to students at the new domestic violence display.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT

From Michigan Supreme Court

A new exhibit at the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center aims to educate young viewers about the dangers of domestic violence – and how to look for the warning signs of an abusive partner.

“Domestic violence doesn’t affect adults alone; many abusive relationships begin when the people involved are still in their teens, and children suffer from domestic violence in their families,” said Learning Center Coordinator Rachael Drenovsky. “Through this age-appropriate exhibit, we hope to teach young people about domestic violence – how to spot an abusive relationship, how to help victims of dating violence, what role the courts play, and what help is available for domestic violence victims.”

The interactive exhibit allows viewers to follow a fictional domestic violence case from arraignment through trial and sentencing. Another feature offers ideas for speaking with someone who acknowledges being in an abusive relationship; content is drawn from the Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board’s youth education campaign, “Dating Violence: It Is a Big Deal.” Other features depict abusive behaviors and invite viewers to select desirable traits – such as “kind,” “friendly,” and “patient” – for a partner. Viewers can take business cards with information for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and can access selected websites.

Speaking at the exhibit’s opening ceremony on Oct. 23, Justice Michael F. Cavanagh thanked Court of Appeals Judge Amy Ronayne Krause, 56A District Court Judge Julie Reincke of Charlotte, Learning Center docent Patricia Babcock of Lansing, and Mason High School teacher Linda Pierce for helping create the exhibit, designed by DownRiver Displays of Erie and MuseumExplorer of East Lansing.

“I hope that you will take with you not only important lessons about how the courts work, but also about making important decisions in your life,” Cavanagh told eighth graders from Dearborn Heights’ St. Anselm School.

Judge Krause, a former judge of Lansing’s 54A District Court and founder of a domestic violence court, noted that many homicides are related to domestic violence. Krause said at the opening ceremony, “The one thing I want for you to remember from today is that one person being hit in a relationship is one too many. I want you to go away with the knowledge to prevent this from happening to you.”

The Learning Center is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except state holidays. For more information, visit http://www.courts.mi.gov/
education/learning-center/.