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Effects of Second Responder Programs on Repeat Incidents of Family Abuse: A Systematic Review

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2008
38 pages
This report presents the methodology, findings, and recommendations of a literature review of research on the effects of second-responder programs for family-violence cases, which involve followup work by a team that provides the victim with information on services and legal options while warning the perpetrator of the legal consequences of continued abuse.

The fixed and random-effects meta-analysis found that the second-response intervention did not influence the likelihood of a repeat incident of abuse, as reported on victim surveys; however, the second-response intervention did slightly increase the likelihood that the victim would report a repeat incident to the police, possibly due to an increase in victims' confidence that the police will act decisively in escalating the consequences for repeat abuse. In order to be eligible for inclusion in this meta-analysis, a study had to be an evaluation of a second-responder program, i.e., a program operated by or in cooperation with a municipal law enforcement agency in which, in response to family violence complaints, the police refer the case to family violence specialists who visit victims in their homes. These evaluations also had to include an acceptable comparison group that did not receive a second response. Further, eligible studies had to include at least one measure of new offenses committed by the perpetrator against the same victim. The search strategies included keyword searches on a variety of online databases; reviews of bibliographies of second-responder studies that were located; hand searches of leading journals in the field; a search of the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women Web site; e-mails to authors of papers that described second-responder programs, but whose methods did not meet criteria for inclusion; and e-mails sent to knowledgeable scholars. Ten studies met the criteria for inclusion. 24 references and appended meta-analysis coding sheets

Date Published: October 1, 2008