U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Cook County Target Abuser Call (TAC): An Evaluation of a Specialized Domestic Violence Court, Revised Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Carolyn C. Hartley Ph.D.; Lisa Frohmann Ph.D.
Date Published
August 2003
6 pages
This report summarizes the methodology and findings of the evaluation of the Cook County Target Abuser Call (TAC), a specialized prosecution program that combines a dedicated domestic violence court, specially trained prosecutors, vertical prosecution, specialized investigators, independent domestic violence advocates, victim/witness specialists, and civil attorney services.
The primary objective of the TAC program is to increase women's engagement in the prosecution process. The cases selected for the program meet the following criteria: prior history of domestic violence based on convictions, dismissals, arrests, and unreported history; injury to the woman; the use of weapons with threats; and domestic battery accompanied by threats, such as threats to kill, to inflict bodily harm, and/or to harm the woman's family. The study compared randomly selected TAC prosecuted cases (n=103) with randomly selected cases from the general court (n=219). The evaluation examined traditional prosecution outcomes (e.g., conviction and arrest/rearrest rates), as well as differences in offender and victim characteristics, prior abuse characteristics, women's experiences prior to and while at court, women's sense of empowerment with the criminal justice system, women's satisfaction with the court outcome, and advocacy and service delivery outcomes. The study found that the victim appearance rate for the TAC program was 73 percent, compared to an appearance rate of 40 percent for the general court. The offenders processed under the TAC program were more likely to have a prior history of domestic violence charges and other violent crimes than the defendants in the general court. The women victims in the general court cases were more likely to want charges dropped. The women in the TAC program had substantially more contact with court personnel and were more likely to be fairly satisfied with these contacts. Seventy-one percent of TAC defendants were convicted compared to 50 percent of defendants in general court. The defendants processed in the two types of courts did not differ on the percentage rearrested for a domestic violence offense within 6 months of the target arrest (approximately one-third).