This study assessed whether the outcomes of domestic assault and sexual assault cases, as well as women victims' perceptions of the legal system's response to their cases, were linked to activities funded under the Federal STOP (Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors) program, which is designed to improve services to women victims of violent crime.
The study found that arrests and convictions in domestic violence and sexual assault cases were linked to the women victims' perception that community agencies were working together to assist them and achieve progress in the investigation and prosecution of their cases. Also, a community's post-STOP legal system response to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault significantly and positively influenced case outcomes for the victims. Women victims reported that more arrests and convictions occurred in connection with more positive post-STOP ratings of the legal system's response to victims and when women experienced more control in working with police. Consistent with previous studies, this study shows that outcomes for cases of domestic violence and sexual assault improve under the influence of victim advocacy groups, training initiatives, and funding programs that serve women victims of violence and enhance the accountability of perpetrators. The study involved two data-collection stages. The first stage was a survey that collected information on STOP-funded programs in nonprofit victim service agencies, their services, and their community linkages to legal system agencies. This involved telephones interviews with 200 persons with knowledge about STOP-funded activities. The second data-collection stage consisted of interviewing women from a subset of the communities included in the previous survey. Data were collected from eight States whose State STOP administrators had different levels of emphasis in creating collaborative structures for serving women victims of violence. 10 tables, 1 figure, 5 notes, and 23 references