St. Louis County Courts






Individuals experiencing domestic violence face serious risks when choosing to leave an abusive relationship and/or file for an Order of Protection. Abusers often grow more dangerous when they believe that they have lost control of the victim. To enhance victim safety, the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court offers advocacy both at the time of filing for an Order of Protection, at the time of the court hearing and through phone follow up.





Internship / Practicum

Practicum/internship opportunities can be customized to meet students' educational needs and career goals. Internships are available for bachelor's and master's level students in social work, law, gender studies, political science, communication, and related fields. This is a highly competitive process with limited opportunities. Two semester practicum is preferred.  One semester practicum (full time) may also be a possibility.

All opportunities are between 8am and 5pm Monday through Friday only.  After training in the dynamics of domestic violence and legal/court issues related to seeking Orders of Protection, a DV Court internship could include the following:

  • Advocate for petitioners in specialized DV Court dockets by providing support, legal information, safety planning and community referrals;
  • Assist petitioners in filing for Orders of Protection;
  • Work with petitioners whose Orders of Protection have been violated;
  • Observe criminal domestic violence proceedings;
  • Review, assess, and prepare cases for court;
  • Engage in outreach efforts on behalf of the DV Court;
  • Assist in the coordination and facilitation of training on domestic violence issues for attorneys, court staff, and volunteers;
  • Follow up with petitioners by phone who have received advocacy in the filing office or court;
  • Research best practices for court advocacy and DV Court programs.

Areas for skill development include (but are not limited to):

  • Crisis intervention;
  • Working with victims of domestic violence and trauma;
  • Program development;
  • Administration development;
  • Community education;
  • Community collaboration;
  • Judicial collaboration;
  • Outreach and event coordination;
  • Legal information.

Advocate Program

After training in the dynamics of domestic violence and legal/court issues, volunteer advocates for the DV Court assist petitioners who are seeking Orders of Protection. Advocates attend each of the weekly DV Court dockets to provide support, answer questions about the court process, develop safety plans and provide referrals to various community resources. Advocacy is provided to petitioners in court, in the filing office and through phone follow-up.

All volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm. We ask volunteers to make at least a one year commitment, complete all required training, and to be present at the court once a week for approximately two hours.

Guardian ad Litem

Volunteer attorneys assist DV Court judges in developing Parenting Plans for families in which an Order of Protection is entered. Volunteer attorneys serve in DV Court dockets on Mondays, Wednesdays and/or Thursdays with a minimum commitment of one docket every other month. Volunteer attorneys receive free, CLE-registered training in domestic violence annually.

All DV Court volunteer attorneys must meet the state Guardian ad Litem requirements (see for more information) and be a registered GAL with the St. Louis County Family Court.

For more information about practicum opportunities, volunteering as an advocate or GAL, contact Deanna Rhodes at:

(314) 615-4658


Volunteer application must be submitted for all opportunities.

Domestic Violence Court
Volunteer/Internship Application


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