National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases in the United States, 1993-1994 (ICPSR 2556) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The purpose of this project was to evaluate the level of domestic violence prosecution throughout the United States and to promote effective prosecution approaches through dissemination of information. The project sought to identify and connect local attorneys' needs for information with the best knowledge available on the most effective prosecution methods. In order to appraise domestic violence prosecution in the United States, the researchers mailed a survey to a nationally-representative sample of prosecutors to assess prosecution strategies in domestic violence cases (Part 1, Prosecutors' Survey Data). Smaller jurisdictions had such a low response rate to the initial survey that a modified follow-up survey (Part 2, Prosecutors' Follow-Up Data) was administered to those jurisdictions. From these surveys, the researchers identified three sites with pioneering specialized domestic violence prosecution programs: Duluth, Minnesota, King County, Washington, and San Francisco, California. In these three sites, the researchers then conducted a case file analysis of a random sample of domestic violence cases (Part 3, Case File Data). A survey of a random sample of female victims was also undertaken in King County and San Francisco (Part 4, Victim Interview Data). In addition, the researchers conducted on-site evaluations of these three specialized programs in which they interviewed staff about the scope of the domestic violence problem, domestic violence support personnel, the impact of the program on the domestic violence problem, and recommendations for the future. The qualitative data collected from these evaluations are provided only in the codebook for this collection. Parts 1 and 2, the Prosecutors' Surveys, contain variables about case management, case screening and charging, pretrial release policies, post-charge diversion, trial, sentencing options, victim support programs, and office and jurisdiction demographics. Questions cover the volume of domestic violence prosecutions, formal protocols for domestic violence prosecution, ways to deal with uncooperative victims, pro-arrest and no-drop policies, protection orders, types of evidence used, and collaboration with other organizations to prosecute domestic violence cases. In addition, Part 1 includes variables on diversion programs, victim noncompliance, substance abuse problems, victim support programs, and plea negotiations. Variables in Part 3, Case File Data, deal with reporting, initial and final charges, injuries sustained, weapons used, evidence available, protection orders issued, victim cooperation, police testimony, disposition, sentence, costs, and restitution for each domestic violence case. Part 4, Victim Interview Data, includes variables concerning victims' employment history, number of children, and substance abuse, opinions about the charges against the defendant, decision-making in the case, and prosecution strategies, and victims' participation in the case, amount of support from and contact with criminal justice agencies, safety concerns, and performance evaluations of various levels of the criminal justice system.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Prosecutors' Survey Data - Download All Files (1.7 MB)
DS2:  Prosecutors' Follow-Up Data - Download All Files (0.7 MB)
DS3:  Case File Data - Download All Files (1 MB)
Data:
DS4:  Victim Interview Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)
Data:

Study Description

Citation

Rebovich, Donald, Bonney Adams, and Martha Weist. PROSECUTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1993-1994. ICPSR version. Alexandria, VA: American Prosecutors Research Institute [producer], 1996. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02556.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-0039)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   attorneys, battered women, case management, case processing, domestic violence, pretrial procedures, program evaluation, prosecution, victim services, victims

Geographic Coverage:   California, Minnesota, United States, Washington

Time Period:  

  • 1993--1994

Date of Collection:  

  • 1993--1994

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Parts 1 and 2: All prosecutors in the United States. Part 3: Domestic violence cases prosecuted in Duluth, Minnesota, King County, Washington, and San Francisco, California. Part 4: Victims of domestic violence in King County, Washington, and San Francisco, California.

Data Types:   administrative records data, and survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The purpose of this project was to evaluate the level of domestic violence prosecution throughout the United States and to promote effective prosecution approaches through dissemination of information. The project sought to identify and connect local attorneys' needs for information with the best knowledge available on the most effective prosecution methods. The general objectives of the study were to: (1) assess the state of domestic violence prosecution programs, both formal and informal, throughout the United States, (2) identify the domestic violence prosecution needs of local prosecutors, (3) contrast the results of the national assessment with case study examinations of a sample of leading specialized programs for domestic violence prosecution, and (4) place the findings culled from local prosecutors against the backdrop of experiences of domestic violence victims whose cases have been processed through these modernized programs.

Study Design:   In order to appraise domestic violence prosecution in the United States, the researchers mailed a self-administered national survey on domestic violence prosecution to a representative cross-section of local prosecutors' offices nationwide (Part 1, Prosecutors' Survey Data). Smaller jurisdictions had such a low response rate to the initial survey that a modified follow-up survey (Part 2, Prosecutors' Follow-Up Data) was administered to those jurisdictions. From these surveys, three sites with pioneering, specialized domestic violence prosecution programs were identified: Duluth, Minnesota, King County, Washington, and San Francisco, California. Next, case file data were collected from a random sample of cases disposed from these three sites. Information was gathered on discovery and report, violation and charging, case processing, disposition and sentencing, and defendant and victim characteristics. Victim interviews were also conducted in King County and San Francisco. Victims were chosen from a random sample of disposed cases for which case file data were collected. Those respondents willing to participate in telephone interviews were asked questions about their demographic characteristics, experiences with the criminal justice system, victim safety issues, and level of interaction with criminal justice and other professionals. Victim interviews were not conducted at the Duluth site because of difficulties in locating potential respondents. In addition, the researchers conducted on-site evaluations of these three specialized programs in which they interviewed staff about the scope of the domestic violence problem, domestic violence support personnel, the impact of the program on the domestic violence problem, and recommendations for the future. The qualitative data collected from these evaluations are provided only in the codebook for this collection.

Sample:   Parts 1 and 2 used stratified random sampling and Parts 3 and 4 used random sampling.

Data Source:

Parts 1 and 2: self-administered mail survey, Part 3: case file documentation, Part 4: telephone interviews

Description of Variables:   Parts 1 and 2, the Prosecutors' Surveys, contain variables about case management, case screening and charging, pretrial release policies, post-charge diversion, trials, sentencing options, victim support programs, and office and jurisdiction demographics. Questions cover the volume of domestic violence prosecutions, formal protocols for domestic violence prosecution, ways to deal with uncooperative victims, pro-arrest and no-drop policies, protection orders, types of evidence used, and collaboration with other organizations to prosecute domestic violence cases. In addition, Part 1 includes variables on diversion programs, victim noncompliance, substance abuse problems, victim support programs, and plea negotiations. Variables in Part 3, Case File Data, deal with reporting, initial and final charges, injuries sustained, weapons used, evidence available, protection orders issued, victim cooperation, police testimony, disposition, sentence, costs, and restitution for each domestic violence case. Part 4, Victim Interview Data, includes variables concerning victims' employment history, number of children, and substance abuse, opinions about the charges against the defendant, decision-making in the case, and prosecution strategies, and victims' participation in the case, amount of support from and contact with criminal justice agencies, safety concerns, and performance evaluations of various levels of the criminal justice system.

Response Rates:   For the prosecutors' surveys, the response rates were 68 percent for Part 1 (large jurisdictions) and 48 percent for Part 2 (small jurisdictions). For the victim surveys, Part 4, the response rate was 82 percent in King County, Washington, and 38 percent in San Francisco, California.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2556.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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