The Dade County Domestic Violence Court research addressed three main substantive questions about the role of substance abuse in domestic violence, the impact of the domestic violence court approach, and the effect of a specially designed treatment approach that integrated batterer and substance abuse treatment into an innovative hybrid.
The study was organized into two phases: a baseline study designed to characterize the domestic violence caseload and the impact of the newly formed Domestic Violence Court (Division) and an experimental evaluation of the batterer-substance abuse treatment hybrid. Although the main emphasis of the study was on misdemeanor processing and treatment in domestic violence cases, the baseline study examined contemporaneous samples of civil injunction, misdemeanor, and felony cases that entered the Dade courts in the spring of 1993 (with a 1-year observation period) to consider the larger context of domestic violence case processing. The treatment experiment examined the impact of the integrated batterer-substance abuse treatment model on domestic violence by following control and experimental group defendants and probationers into treatment during a period between June 1994 and February 1995 with a 7-month followup. Findings show that the treatment hybrid apparently produced some positive, practical results in reaching the treatment population and retaining them in treatment with greater accountability. When taken in conjunction with the baseline findings that cases continuing in processing and cases involved in treatment show lower rates of reoffending, these findings suggest that the program may have prevented reoffending among domestic violence offenders. Suggestions for program improvement are offered. 14 figures, 6 tables, and 43 references
Date Published: January 1, 1996