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Evaluation of Victim Advocacy Within a Team Approach, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
363 pages
Responding to the scarcity of published research about advocacy services for battered women, this study evaluated advocacy services offered to battered women in Detroit, Michigan.
The study focused primarily on advocacy services but also investigated other aspects of coordinated community responses to domestic violence. The study used official records to address questions that were important to criminal justice personnel, such as whether advocacy at precinct and/or prosecutor levels was associated with a higher rate of completed prosecution of batterers, a higher rate of guilty findings against batterers, or decreased rates of subsequent violence. Data were obtained from 1,057 police incident reports (PCRs) and 242 telephone interviews with victims. Findings showed black women were the most frequent victims named on PCRs. The annual household income of most respondents was low, with only 14.1 percent having an income of more than $30,000 per year. Only 24 percent of respondents were married, and interviewed women were significantly less likely than non-interviewed women to report experiencing severe physical violence during the focal incident or to be living with partners. Of respondents, 24 percent received some type of advocacy and 4 percent had contact with at least two types of advocates. Women who received any advocacy were more likely to have focal police reports that reported severe physical abuse, and black women were more likely to receive advocacy than European-American women were. According to PCRs, arrests occurred in 29 percent of the cases. About 65 percent of respondents said they thought it was a good idea for the prosecutor to press charges against their partner. Reasons why women rated advocates as helpful were that they received information, were emotionally supported, and believed advocates actively did something to help. Study and research implications of the findings are discussed in the context of improved advocacy to increase the number of prosecutions and to improve the police response to violence against women. Study forms and supplemental information are contained in eight appendixes. Endnotes and tables

Date Published: January 1, 2001