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UT’s Department of Theatre & Film create video for Lucas County Juvenile Court

The Lucas County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division is utilizing a video shot and edited by UT film students and featuring actors from the University’s Theatre program. The court’s Family Violence Intervention Project Coordinator, Deborah Lipson Kaplan, developed the project with funds from the federal stimulus program and the Stop Violence Against Women Act.
According to Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon, Administrative Judge, Lucas County Juvenile Court, the number of Lucas County youth charged with domestic violence offenses has increased dramatically in the last ten years.  In 2008, over 650 cases were filed by parents who were threatened or physically assaulted by their own children.  

The Lucas County Juvenile Court Family Violence Intervention Project is a victim-focused program aimed at increasing safety and security in the home.  This program provides information, tools, and training to families to learn and develop techniques to communicate safely and effectively with family members in their homes.  

The goal of the project is to decrease and to work toward elimination of youth perpetrated family violence.
The purpose of the video is to demonstrate a strategy families can use to help keep conflicts from becoming violent. It is shown to all youth charged with domestic violence against a family member and to the parents and/or guardians of these youth.  Student and faculty actors from the University portrayed two scenes, one in which an ordinary family conflict escalates into violence and a second scene with a family employing the strategy to resolve conflict peacefully.
“We really wanted the role playing to be authentic,” Kaplan said. “We met with some youth in detention and got some of the exact language that they have used during conflicts at home.” Kaplan added that the staff, the parents and even the youth are impressed with the role-playing scenes in the video. They said that the fight between the mother and the daughter in the video is very realistic. “The parents and kids are saying that this is exactly what happens in the home.”
The second scene, showing a youth using the strategy for de-escalating conflict has had a real impact on our families. “Some said they had never used anything like that at home and really appreciated having something like that to use. Some of the kids, especially the first time offenders, have returned to court and reported that they have employed this strategy the next time they became angry and that it worked to prevent conflict.  So we know we have a really good tool,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said she is hoping to work with the Theatre & Film Department again in the future on similar projects. “I was really impressed with the professional level of the work and would love to work with them again.”






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