This report evaluates the impact of nine integrated domestic violence courts, primarily from rural and semi-rural areas in upstate New York in the years 2006 and 2007; it describes the evaluation design and methodology, and provides detailed discussions of the results of family court and criminal court impact analyses.
This document reports on a study examining the impact of the integrated domestic violence (IDV) court model on basic quantitative outcomes related to case processing, dispositions, subsequent case filings, and re-arrests. Both family court and criminal court case analyses compare outcomes of IDV court cases to similar cases that were processed in traditional family and criminal courts. The family court analysis included cases filed from IDV court inception in 2006 or early 2007, depending on the site, through May 2007; findings showed that over a one-year period after the initial case filing, less than 10 percent of the parties were involved in a subsequent filing, with no difference between those who initially had an IDV or comparison court case, IDV cases were significantly more likely to be settled or withdrawn from comparison cases, IDV cases took longer to reach disposition than comparison cases, and IDV cases involved significantly more court appearances than comparison cases. The criminal court analysis also included cases initiated from court inception through May 2007; and findings showed that IDV court defendants were significantly more likely than comparison defendants to be re-arrested in cases that included criminal contempt charges, IDV and comparison cases did not differ in their dispositions or sentences apart from greater use of probation and lesser use of “time served” sentences in the IDV court, approximately one-third of both samples were re-arrested and one-quarter were re-arrested on a domestic violence charge, and criminal court cases took longer to reach disposition than comparison cases but the difference fell just inside the study’s margin of error and stemmed largely from the elapsed time of 47 days between the arrest and IDV court transfer.