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Complex Behavioral Patterns and Trajectories of Domestic Violence Offenders

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: 2010 Pages: 3-17
Alison Snow Jones, Ph.D.; D. Alex Heckert, Ph.D.; Edward D. Gondolf, Ed.D.; Qiang Zhang, M.S., M.A., M.E.; Edward H. Ip, Ph.D.
Date Published
15 pages

This study investigated how complex behavioral patterns and trajectories of domestic violence offenders changed over time.


Evidence-based practice within the criminal justice system has relied primarily on cumulative reports of reassaults or rearrests, especially in evaluating effectiveness of domestic violence (DV) interventions. The authors use a longitudinal sample of DV offenders arrested and referred to DV offender program in four cities to examine complex multi-outcome patterns of violent and abusive behavior and trajectories between patterns over time. Offenders and their partners were surveyed at program intake and followed for 15 months (N=550). A Hidden Markov Model identifies four distinct behavioral patterns. Trajectory analysis indicates that the most abusive state is relatively stable and indicative of a high probability of future physical assault. Results suggest that evaluation based on complex outcomes may improve criminal justice intervention effectiveness, risk assessment, and risk management. (Published Abstract)