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Effects of Interactions Among Community Agencies on Legal System Responses to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in STOP-Funded Communities

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2003 Pages: 249-272
Date Published
June 2003
24 pages

This study assessed the degree to which receipt of STOP funding (Federal formula grants program that targets violence against women) for nonprofit victim service (VS) programs and State-level STOP program support for collaboration has led to greater community interaction and legal system outcomes.


The STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants Program is a Federal funding stream that promotes institutionalized system change in communities, such that women victims of violent crime can experience a supportive and effective response from the criminal and civil justice systems and from victim service programs. The data for the current study encompassed STOP awards to States for fiscal years 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. The dataset included 6,527 subgrant awards of $298 million. Thirty-five percent of the funding was awarded to VS programs for a total of 2,788 reported subgrants, representing approximately 1,200 VS programs. The sampling strategy resulted in 200 completed interviews in 32 States; 90 programs were interviewed in the 8 focus States. Phone interviews were conducted with representatives from STOP-funded VS programs, and questionnaires were faxed as well. The interview and survey focused on the level of STOP funds and other resources, pre-STOP level of community services, State STOP Program support for collaboration, community interaction, and Post-STOP legal system response to victims. The latter measure focused on changes in VS program interaction with the legal system, respondent perceptions of changes in legal system response to victims, and respondent perceptions of changes in behaviors of legal system agencies. Two important findings emerged from the analysis. First, the greater the pre-STOP activity in communities that addressed violence against women and that developed the community's ability to meet victims' needs, the higher the rating of legal systems in meeting victim needs after STOP funding; however, the greater the level of activity in communities before STOP, the less change occurred in addressing the needs of victims. Second, levels of interaction among community agencies were particularly important for system behavior changes. The more agencies worked together in communities, including law enforcement and prosecution agencies working with VS programs, the more likely were services to improve for victims within the legal system. Study limitations are discussed. 5 tables, 3 notes, and 12 references

Date Published: June 1, 2003