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Final Report on the Crossover Between Respondents in Relief From Abuse Petitions and Defendants in the Criminal Docket and Use of the Victim Compensation Fund

NCJ Number
Robin Joy
Date Published
December 2018
18 pages
This is the final report on a Vermont project whose goal was to identify, collect, and analyze data on victims of domestic assaults, to distinguish categories of victims, identify service delivery gaps and best practices for referrals to services, and analyze multi-system data to create a more comprehensive view of victimization trends.
Domestic assault continues to be one of the top six crimes committed in Vermont. The absence of more concrete data and information on domestic-violence crime victims, especially specific populations of victims, impedes the state's ability to identify victims of domestic violence and deploy victim resources appropriately. The purpose of this collaborative project was to determine the cross-over between civil relief from abuse orders, criminal prosecutions for domestic violence, and claims made to Vermont's Victims Compensation Program. In addressing these issues, the project used data from the courts, criminal histories, and Victims Compensation Program claims. Five key findings emerged from the data analysis. One finding is that criminal court dispositions provide little information about the victims in the criminal courts. A second finding is that victims of domestic violence overwhelmingly use the civil court rather the criminal court for protection. Third, two groups of victims were identified. One group participates in the criminal domestic violence process, and the other group uses the civil process, with a limited amount of overlap. Fourth, few respondents were arrested for violating the abuse prevention order. Fifth, few victims accessed the Victim Compensation Program, with approximately 10 percent of victims applying for funds during 2014-2016. It is anticipated that these findings will be used by criminal justice policymakers, state legislators, and victim service providers in determining how to most effectively use court and community resources to serve victims of domestic assault. 5 tables