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Research Designs in the Real World: Testing the Effectiveness of an IPV Intervention

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2015
2 pages
Publication Series
This report discusses the findings and the methodology for an evaluation of a Lethality Assessment Program (LAP), in which police officers responding to a case of intimate partner violence (IPV) administer a brief risk assessment that gauges the victim-survivor's risk level for being killed by the perpetrator; this becomes the basis for deciding on an appropriate intervention for victim protection.
The evaluation found that women in the LAP intervention group engaged in more protective strategies both immediately after the intervention and when they were interviewed approximately 7 months later. In addition, they experienced significantly less frequency and severity of violence than women in the comparison group at the follow-up interviews. A major issue in the evaluation was the selection of a research design. A quasi-experimental design was selected instead of a randomized control trial (RCT), which is the gold standard for program evaluation. The quasi-experimental design was selected based on evaluators' ethical decision that refusing the LAP for IPV victims (a requirement in creating a randomized control group of those who do not receive the program) could endanger their lives. Other reasons for rejecting the use of RCT are also discussed. The evaluation research design selected was a non-equivalent-groups quasi-experimental field trial that used a historical comparison group across a previous period. Conducting a similar study with different participants in a different location or with different researchers is one way to determine whether the results of a study are valid, reliable and generalizable. Currently, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Office on Violence Against Women are collaborating in evaluating two lethality and high-risk assessment models, including the LAP.

Date Published: July 1, 2015