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.

Evaluation of a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence in Alexandria, Virginia, 1990-1998 (ICPSR 2858) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was undertaken to evaluate Alexandria, Virginia's Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP), which is a coordinated community response to domestic violence. Specifically, the goals of the study were (1) to determine the effectiveness of DVIP, (2) to compare victims' perceptions of program satisfaction and other program elements between the Alexandria Domestic Violence Intervention Program and domestic violence victim support services in Virginia Beach, Virginia, (3) to examine the factors related to abusers who repeatedly abuse their victims, and (4) to report the findings of attitudinal surveys of the Alexandria police department regarding the mandatory arrest policy. Data were collected from four sources. The first two sources of data were surveys conducted via telephone interviews with females living in either Alexandria, Virginia (Part 1), or Virginia Beach, Virginia (Part 2), who were victims of domestic violence assault incidents in which the police had been contacted. These surveys were designed to describe the services that the women had received, their satisfaction with those services, and their experience with subsequent abuse. For Part 3 (Alexandria Repeat Offender Data), administrative records from the Alexandria Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) were examined in order to identify and examine the factors related to abusers who repeatedly abused their victims. The fourth source of data was a survey distributed to police officers in Alexandria (Part 4, Alexandria Police Officer Survey Data) and was developed to assess police officers' attitudes regarding the domestic violence arrest policy in Alexandria. In four rounds of interviews for Part 1 and three rounds of interviews for Part 2, victims answered questions regarding the location where the domestic violence incident occurred and if the police were involved, their perceptions of the helpfulness of the police, prosecutor, domestic violence programs, hotlines, and shelters, their relationship to the abuser, their living arrangements at the time of each interview, and whether a protective order was obtained. Also gathered was information on the types of abuse and injuries sustained by the victim, whether she sought medical care for the injuries, whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident(s), whether the victim had been physically abused or threatened, yelled at, had personal property destroyed, or was made to feel unsafe by the abuser, if any other programs or persons provided help to the victim and how helpful these additional services were, and whether a judge ordered services for the victim or abuser. After the initial interviews, in subsequent rounds victims were asked if they had had any contact with the abuser since the last interview, if they had experienced any major life changes, if their situation had improved or gotten worse and if so how, and what types of assistance or programs would have helped improve their situation. Demographic variables for Part 3 include offenders' race, sex, age at first criminal nondomestic violence charge, and age at first domestic violence charge. Other variables include charge number, type, initiator, disposition, and sentence of nondomestic violence charges, as well as the conditions of the sentences, imposed days, months, and years, effective days, months, and years, type of domestic violence case, victim's relationship to offender, victim's age, sex, and race, whether alcohol or drugs were involved, if children were present at the domestic violence incident, the assault method used by the offender, and the severity of the assault. For Part 4, police officers were asked whether they knew what a domestic violent incident was, whether arresting without a warrant was considered good policy, whether they were in favor of domestic violence policy as a police response, whether they thought domestic violence policy was an effective deterrent, whether officers should have discretion to arrest, and how much discretion was used to handle domestic violence calls. The number and percent of domestic violence arrests made in the previous year, percent of domestic violence calls that involved mutual combat, and the number of years each respondent worked with the Alexandria, Virginia, police department are included in the file. Demographic variables for Part 4 include the age and gender of each respondent.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access.

    A downloadable version of data for this study is available however, certain identifying information in the downloadable version may have been masked or edited to protect respondent privacy. Additional data not included in the downloadable version are available in a restricted version of this data collection. For more information about the differences between the downloadable data and the restricted data for this study, please refer to the codebook notes section of the PDF codebook. Users interested in obtaining restricted data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Alexandria Victim Interview Data - Download All Files (6.2 MB)
DS2:  Virginia Beach Victim Interview Data - Download All Files (4.4 MB)
DS3:  Alexandria Repeat Offender Data - Download All Files (13.1 MB)
DS4:  Alexandria Police Officer Survey Data - Download All Files (2.3 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Orchowsky, Stan J. EVALUATION OF A COORDINATED COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, 1990-1998. ICPSR02858-v2. Richmond, VA: Applied Research Associates [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-07-13. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02858.v2

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-WT-NX-0004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrest procedures, battered women, domestic violence, intervention, police departments, program evaluation, recidivists, victim services, victims

Geographic Coverage:   Alexandria, United States, Virginia

Time Period:  

  • 1990--1998

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996-05--1998-05

Unit of Observation:   Parts 1, 2, and 4: Individuals. Part 3: Domestic violence offenses.

Universe:   Part 1: Females living in Alexandria, Virginia, who were victims of a male-female domestic violence assault incident in which the police had been contacted. Part 2: Females living in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who were victims of a male-female domestic violence assault incident in which the police had been contacted. Part 3: Domestic violence cases in Alexandria, Virginia, involving males abusing females with any of the following relationship dynamics: married, divorced, separated, living together, boyfriend-girlfriend, former boyfriend-girlfriend, and child in common. Part 4: Police officers and detectives in Alexandria, Virginia, working in the domestic violence unit.

Data Types:   Parts 1, 2 and 4: survey data. Part 3: administrative records data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The problem of violence against women, particularly domestic violence and intimate partner violence, has received increasing attention over the last few years. Previous research has shown that arresting domestic violence offenders resulted in fewer incidents of subsequent violence. These findings led to widespread adoption of mandatory arrest policies by police departments. Recent studies, however, have noted that the evaluations of the impact of mandatory arrest policies had largely been conducted without monitoring the domestic violence prosecution processes and their outcomes. Furthermore, these studies showed that there was little or no evidence that (1) arrest, in the absence of other sanctions, reduced subsequent violence by the offender, and (2) court-mandated treatment of domestic violence offenders was effective in reducing recidivism rates. Research has also noted that police do not operate independently of other elements of the criminal justice system. Moreover, in cases of domestic violence, community advocacy organizations play an important role in service provision. There is some evidence that coordinated responses to domestic violence were effective in producing positive outcomes for victims. Thus, communities have sought to develop coordinated responses to domestic violence, involving police, prosecutors, judges, and community advocates. These projects have typically developed pro-arrest policies, prosecution and sentencing guidelines, and counseling and education programs for court-mandated batterers. One popular method for implementing comprehensive coordinated approaches has been the formation of community intervention projects that are primarily staffed by battered women's advocates. These programs usually have several elements in common, such as the provision of services to victims and batterers, including court-ordered treatment, and the presence of active coordination between the local police department and prosecutor's office. However, there has been relatively little research on any of these coordinated programs. Generally, this study sought to evaluate Alexandria, Virginia's Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP), which is a coordinated community response to domestic violence. Specifically, the goals of this study were (1) to determine the effectiveness of DVIP, (2) to compare program satisfaction and other program elements between the Alexandria, Virginia, Domestic Violence Intervention Program and domestic violence victim support services in Virginia Beach, Virginia, (3) to examine the factors related to abusers who repeatedly abuse their victims, and (4) to report the findings of attitudinal surveys of the Alexandria police department regarding the mandatory arrest policy.

Study Design:   Data were collected from four sources. The first two sources of data were surveys conducted via telephone interviews with females living in either Alexandria, Virginia (Part 1), or Virginia Beach, Virginia (Part 2), who were victims of domestic violence assault incidents in which the police had been contacted. The surveys were designed to determine the services that the women had received, their satisfaction with those services, and their experience with subsequent abuse. Initial interviews of victims in Alexandria began in May 1996, with three rounds of subsequent interviews conducted. On average, the first round of (initial) interviews was conducted about two months after the incident. Round 2 was conducted about one month after Round 1, Round 3 about three months after Round 2, and Round 4 about nine months after Round 3. The initial interviews of Virginia Beach victims began in March 1997 with two rounds of subsequent interviews conducted. On average, the first round of initial interviews began about one month after the incident. Round 2 was conducted about one month after Round 1, and Round 3 about two to three months after Round 2. The time interval between Rounds 1 and 2 was comparable to the interval in Alexandria. However, the interval between Rounds 2 and 3 was, approximately, 23 days longer in Alexandria than in Virginia Beach. Due to differences concerning the way in which researchers were allowed access to potential participants, recruitment procedures were different in the two localities. In Alexandria, a letter was prepared by the research team under the signature of the Coordinator of the Office on Women's Domestic Violence Program. The letter introduced the study and indicated that the women would be contacted by a research team. Volunteers from the Alexandria Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) gave the letters to female domestic violence victims at the time their cases were heard in court. Once the women's court hearings were completed, DVIP volunteers returned the incident reports to the Office on Women's Domestic Violence Program. These reports were copied every few weeks, depending on the caseload for that particular time period. These forms were then used by the interviewers to contact the victims to inquire about participation in the study. Once contact was established, the interviewers read from a script that explained the purpose of the study and requested the victim's participation for the first interview. The procedures followed in Virginia Beach, which was used as a comparison site, were different from those followed in Alexandria for two reasons. First, the researchers were not allowed to contact victims directly to solicit their participation in the study because the City Attorney's office felt that releasing the names and phone numbers of the victims would violate their privacy. Secondly, the length of time between abusive incidents and the victim's court appearance was much longer in Virginia Beach than in Alexandria, and there was no systematic volunteer court accompaniment program in Virginia Beach. Thus, there was no way to inform potential participants that the study was proceeding. Since detectives from the Virginia Beach Police Department's domestic violence unit regularly contacted all domestic violence victims who had called police, the research team decided that these officers would introduce the study to victims and solicit their participation. A script was prepared for the detectives to read to the victims. If the victim agreed to participate in the study, the detective recorded the victim's name and phone number on a list of potential study participants. These forms were faxed to the interviewers, who then contacted the victims. The initial interview for both sites was an abbreviated one, which was conducted at the time the victims agreed to participate in the study. Subsequent interviews for both sites were all conducted using the same, more detailed questionnaire. There was only one major difference between the interview forms used for the two localities. Since there was no domestic violence program in Virginia Beach that could easily be identified, the women there were asked about the helpfulness of the police department's domestic violence unit, rather than the domestic violence program. For Part 3 (Alexandria Repeat Offender Data) administrative records from the Alexandria Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) were examined in order to identify and examine the factors related to abusers who repeatedly abused their victims. In 1993 the tracking of domestic violence cases was incorporated into the CJIS. Alexandria's CJIS is an offender-based system used by the courts to track defendants. Once domestic violence cases are identified by the victim-witness office, they are entered into the system with a code indicating that they are domestic violence cases. The study staff met with the Victim Services Coordinator and the CJIS administrator to determine the cases and variables needed for the purposes of the study. The city then enlisted the consultants who program the CJIS database to pull cases with the required data elements and place them into files that could be used by the project staff for analysis. Researchers examined the following: (1) domestic violence incidents occurring during the time period from January 1993 to June 1996, (2) offenses other than domestic violence, committed by domestic violence defendants from January 1, 1990, through June of 1996, and (3) the characteristics of one-time and repeat offenders. The fourth source of data was a survey distributed to police officers in Alexandria (Part 4, Alexandria Police Officer Survey Data). The survey was developed to assess police officers' attitudes regarding the domestic violence arrest policy in Alexandria. The survey was administered during roll calls in the fall of 1996 by the sergeant in charge of the domestic violence unit. A total of 133 officers and detectives completed the survey.

Sample:   Not applicable.

Mode of Data Collection:   telephone interview, self-enumerated questionnaire, record abstracts

Description of Variables:   In four rounds of interviews for Part 1 and three rounds of interviews for Part 2, victims answered questions regarding the location where the domestic violence incident occurred and if the police were involved, their perceptions of the helpfulness of the police, prosecutor, domestic violence programs, hotlines, and shelters, their relationship to the abuser, their living arrangements at the time of each interview, and whether a protective order was obtained. Also gathered was information on the types of abuse and injuries sustained by the victim, whether she sought medical care for the injuries, whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident(s), whether the victim had been physically abused or threatened, yelled at, had personal property destroyed, or was made to feel unsafe by the abuser, if any other programs or persons provided help to the victim and how helpful these additional services were, and whether a judge ordered services for the victim or abuser. After the initial interviews, in subsequent rounds victims were asked if they had had any contact with the abuser since the last interview, if they had experienced any major life changes, if their situation had improved or gotten worse and if so how, and what types of assistance or programs would have helped improve their situation. Demographic variables for Part 3 include offenders' race, sex, age at first criminal nondomestic violence charge, and age at first domestic violence charge. Other variables include charge number, type, initiator, disposition, and sentence of nondomestic violence charges, as well as the conditions of the sentences, imposed days, months, and years, effective days, months, and years, type of domestic violence case, victim's relationship to offender, victim's age, sex, and race, whether alcohol or drugs were involved, if children were present at the domestic violence incident, the assault method used by the offender, and the severity of the assault. For Part 4, police officers were asked whether they knew what a domestic violent incident was, whether arresting without a warrant was considered good policy, whether they were in favor of domestic violence policy as a police response, whether they thought domestic violence policy was an effective deterrent, whether officers should have discretion to arrest, and how much discretion was used to handle domestic violence calls. The number and percent of domestic violence arrests made in the previous year, percent of domestic violence calls that involved mutual combat, and the number of years each respondent worked with the Alexandria, Virginia, police department are included in the file. Demographic variables for Part 4 include the age and gender of each respondent.

Response Rates:   The response rates for the initial interviews for Parts 1 and 2 were approximately 64 percent and 63 percent, respectively. Part 3: Not applicable. The response rate is unknown for Part 4.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used in Parts 1, 2, and 4.

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:

  • 2006-07-13 Restricted versions of Parts 1, 2, and 3 were added. The downloadable versions were updated so the LRECL would match the restricted versions.
  • 2006-03-30 File UG2858.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-03-30 File CB2858.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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