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Examining the Behavior of a System: An Outcome Evaluation of a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 22 Issue: 7 Dated: October 2007 Pages: 631-641
Laura F. Salazar; James G. Emshoff; Charlene K. Baker; Terrence Crowley
Date Published
October 2007
This study examined whether a coordinated community response (CCR) to domestic violence in two Georgia counties was effective in increasing criminal justice sanctions for male domestic-violence offenders (i.e., arrests, prosecutions, convictions, sentencing, and referrals to batterer intervention programs).
Findings show that in both counties there was a significant increase in arrests of male domestic-violence offenders; however, police officers also arrested more women as a result of the CCR to domestic violence. Previous research has also shown an increase in the percentage of women arrested following the implementation of mandatory arrest policies. In the current study, the sheriff of one county expressed to research staff that in many instances women provoked their abuse and were often the primary offenders. In the other county, the observed increase in female arrests for domestic violence reflected a long-term trend in this direction, even prior to the CCR to domestic violence. In one county, more men were sentenced to probation and required to attend a batterer's intervention program. In the other county, there was no change in these measures. The findings suggest cautious optimism for CCR to domestic violence in terms of increasing criminal justice intervention. It remains to be determined whether specific patterns of criminal justice intervention are effective in deterring the initiation and repeat of domestic violence. The CCR to domestic violence in the two counties, called Men Stopping Violence, involved increasing legal sanctions for male domestic violence offenders, raising community awareness of these legal sanctions, introducing and maintaining a male batterer intervention program, and assessing the possible effects on women. The CCR evaluation involved a time series design, which consisted of a series of data-collection points prior to program implementation, which were then compared to a series of data points following the intervention. 2 tables and 39 references