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 Victim Advocacy Services for Battered Women in Detroit, 1998-1999 (ICPSR 3017) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study evaluated advocacy services offered to battered women in Detroit, Michigan, and examined other aspects of coordinated community responses to domestic violence by focusing on women named as victims in police reports. Advocacy was defined as those services provided to support victims during the legal process or to enhance their safety. For the Preliminary Complaint Reports Data (Part 1), a random sample of preliminary complaint reports (PCRs), completed by police officers after they responded to domestic violence calls, were gathered, resulting in a sample of 1,057 incidents and victims. For Victim Advocacy Contact Data (Part 2), researchers obtained data from advocates' files about the services they provided to the 1,057 victims. For Case Disposition Data (Part 3), researchers conducted a computer search to determine the outcomes of the cases. They looked up each perpetrator from the list of 1,057 incidents, and determined whether there was a warrant for the focal incident, whether it turned into a prosecution, and the outcome. The Initial Victim Interview (Part 4) and Follow-Up Victim Interview Data (Part 5) were conducted from April 1998 to July 1999. During the same period that researchers were completing the second interviews, they also interviewed 23 women (Victim Comparison Group Interview Data, Part 6) from the list of 1,057 whom they had been unable to reach during the first interviews. They compared these 23 women to the 63 who had second interviews to determine if there were any differences in use of services, or views toward or participation in prosecution. Variables in Part 1 focus on whether alcohol and abuse were involved, previous incidents, the suspect's psychological aggressions and physical assaults, if a weapon was used, if the victim was hurt, if property was damaged, if the victim sought medical attention, and the severity of physical abuse or injury. Variables in Part 2 provide information on the role of the advocate, methods of contact, types of referrals made, and services provided. Variables in Part 3 include the type of charge, outcome of resolved case, why the case was dismissed, if applicable, and if the suspect was sentenced to probation, costs, confinement, no contact with the victim, a batterer program, or community service. The initial, follow-up, and comparison group interviews (Parts 4-6) all collected similar information. Variables about the incident include how well the respondent remembered the incident, if police arrived promptly, if the respondent was advised to file charges, if police told the respondent that a counselor was available, and if the respondent's partner had been in jail since the incident. Variables concerning advocacy include whether the victim contacted advocates, and if advocates provided legal help and referrals. Legal system variables include whether the respondent felt pressured by anyone to drop charges or pursue charges, if the respondent received help for preliminary examination or trial, and if contact with the legal system helped the respondent. Variables about services include whether the respondent received assistance in temporary shelter, food/money resources, child care, employment, education, a lawyer for divorce/custody, support or self-help group, or a substance abuse treatment program. Variables concerning what happened in the previous six months cover the number of times the respondent had called police because of danger, left home because of a violent incident, partner had been arrested because of violence, and partner physically abused respondent. Variables about events that occurred while the respondent and abuser were separated include how often the partner harassed the respondent on the phone, wrote threatening letters, violated legal restrictions, refused to leave the respondent's home, failed to pay child support, and threatened to take the children. Demographic variables include respondent's race or ethnic background, education, marital status, number of children, number of children who lived with respondent, and employment status and income at the time of the interviews.

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
DS1:  Preliminary Complaint Reports Data - Download All Files (7,654 KB)
DS2:  Victim Advocacy Contact Data - Download All Files (2,410 KB)
DS3:  Case Disposition Data - Download All Files (2,530 KB)
DS4:  Initial Victim Interview Data - Download All Files (3,709 KB)
DS5:  Follow-Up Victim Interview Data - Download All Files (2,506 KB)
DS6:  Victim Comparison Group Interview Data - Download All Files (2,440 KB)

Study Description

Citation

Weisz, Arlene, and David Canales-Portalatin. Evaluation of Victim Advocacy Services for Battered Women in Detroit, 1998-1999. ICPSR03017-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-08-22. doi:10.3886/ICPSR03017.v2

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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 (97-WT-VX-0006)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   advocacy, battered women, domestic violence, legal aid, police records, police response, prosecution, victims, violence against women, women

Geographic Coverage:   Detroit, Michigan, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1998--1999

Date of Collection:  

  • 1998-04--1999-07

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Women named as domestic violence victims in police incident reports in Detroit, Michigan.

Data Types:   survey data, and administrative records data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Responding to the scarcity of published research about advocacy services for battered women, this study evaluated advocacy services offered to battered women in Detroit, Michigan, and examined other aspects of coordinated community responses to domestic violence by focusing on women named as victims in police reports. Advocacy was defined as those services provided to support victims during the legal process or to enhance their safety. The study sought to answer the following questions: (1) Is advocacy at the precinct and/or prosecutor's level associated with a higher rate of completed prosecution of batterers? (2) Is advocacy at the precinct and/or prosecutor's level associated with a higher rate of guilty findings against batterers (or pleas of guilty)? (3) Does advocacy at the precinct and/or prosecutor's level affect victims' reports of rates of subsequent violence as well as rates of police reports and arrests? (4) Do victims who received advocacy assess their situation as more or less safe than victims who did not receive it? (5) How do victims view advocacy and the criminal justice process related to the abuse?

Study Design:   For the Preliminary Complaint Reports Data (Part 1), a random sample of preliminary complaint reports (PCRs) was gathered. A research assistant went weekly to the five precincts and collected copies of all the PCRs that officers set aside as "domestic violence incidents." She then sorted them and removed cases that did not meet the criteria of having an adult female victim meeting Michigan's definition of domestic violence. According to Michigan law, an incident is domestic violence when the perpetrator and victim are married, formerly married, live-together partners, formerly lived together, or have a child in common. Researchers had a quota of cases for each precinct, so if the research assistant had too many from a single precinct, she made a selection by counting them and selecting a case when her count matched the last two digits of a table of random numbers. This quota enabled the researchers to be certain to gather reports from all of the precincts throughout the data collection period rather than gathering all the reports researchers needed from one precinct in a short period of time. If the number of reports did not exceed the quota, researchers used all the domestic violence reports from the precinct for the week. A total of 1,057 cases were selected. The researchers continued to collect PCRs from the five precincts through March 1999 to look for additional reports pertaining to the 1,057 victims in the sample. The subsequent PCRs were coded according to whether the perpetrator was the same or different from the initial incident perpetrator. For Victim Advocacy Contact Data (Part 2), researchers obtained data from advocates' files about the services they provided to the 1,057 victims. During the planning stages of the proposal, the advocacy programs agreed to provide access to advocates' records about the numbers of face-to-face and telephone contacts they had with each victim as well as the types of services provided. However, as the data gathering began, researchers learned that some advocates did not keep methodical records on all of the services they delivered to each victim. Others were apparently unwilling to allow the researchers to have access to these data. Therefore, researchers devised a "contact form" for advocates to fill out after each in-person or phone contact with a victim. After the intake of PCRs was completed, researchers compiled a list of the 1,057 names with the birth date or age of each victim. They then asked the police department advocates and legal advocates to check the name of each victim they served against this list and fill out a contact form for new contacts with women on the list. While advocates reported that they were following this procedure, it was impossible to know how consistently they were checking the list. For Case Disposition Data (Part 3), researchers created a prosecution outcome form and produced a copy for each case when the prosecutor's advocate's logbook indicated a warrant request. Researchers then asked the prosecutor's advocates to fill out a form for cases that were assigned to them on their intake days. Researchers collected a few completed forms, but the prosecutor's advocates did not fill out the forms for most of the cases that were completed. Therefore, researchers conducted a computer search for the outcomes of the cases. Researchers looked up each perpetrator from the list of 1,057 incidents, and determined whether there was a warrant for the focal incident, whether it turned into a prosecution, and the outcome. Although the computer search did not yield a report that was as detailed as the disposition forms that researchers gave the advocates, it did provide the outcome of the case, and it gave some information about why cases were dismissed. Therefore, researchers were able to categorize cases according to whether they were dismissed for lack of evidence or lack of a complaining witness. The Initial Victim Interview (Part 4) and Follow-Up Victim Interview (Part 5) were conducted from April 1998 to July 1999. Before the initial interview, a passive consent (refusal) form was used in precincts by domestic violence counselors and by the prosecutor's advocates. Advocates were asked to describe the study when they met with the victims. They explained the survey and had women sign the refusal form if they were unwilling to be contacted for the survey. Two questionnaires, one for the initial telephone interview and the other for the follow-up, were developed. At the beginning of each interview, interviewers read the consent form to the respondents and informed them of potential risks and benefits. Victims were contacted again three months after the first interview to make sure they were still at the same telephone number and to ask them to notify the interviewers if their number changed. For the six-month interviews, all of the women who were reached at three months were called, except the few who had refused further contact. Researchers also attempted to contact women who were initially interviewed but could not be reached with the three-month call. During the same period that researchers were completing the second interviews, they also interviewed 23 women (Victim Comparison Group Interview, Part 6) from the list of 1,057 whom they had been unable to reach during the first interviews. They compared these 23 women to the 63 who had second interviews to determine if there were any differences in use of services, or views toward or participation in prosecution.

Sample:   Random sampling.

Data Source:

administrative records, and telephone interviews

Description of Variables:   Variables in Part 1 focus on whether alcohol and abuse were involved, previous incidents, the suspect's psychological aggressions and physical assaults, if a weapon was used, if the victim was hurt, if property was damaged, if the victim sought medical attention, and the severity of physical abuse or injury. Variables in Part 2 provide information on the role of the advocate, methods of contact, types of referrals made, and services provided. Variables in Part 3 include the type of charge, outcome of resolved case, why the case was dismissed, if applicable, and if the suspect was sentenced to probation, costs, confinement, no contact with the victim, a batterer program, or community service. The initial, follow-up, and comparison group interviews (Parts 4-6) all collected similar information. Variables about the incident include how well the respondent remembered the incident, if police arrived promptly, if the respondent was advised to file charges, if police told the respondent that a counselor was available, and if the respondent's partner had been in jail since the incident. Variables concerning advocacy include whether the victim contacted advocates, and if advocates provided legal help and referrals. Legal system variables include whether the respondent felt pressured by anyone to drop charges or pursue charges, if the respondent received help for preliminary examination or trial, and if contact with the legal system helped the respondent. Variables about services include whether the respondent received assistance in temporary shelter, food/money resources, child care, employment, education, a lawyer for divorce/custody, support or self-help group, or a substance abuse treatment program. Variables concerning what happened in the previous six months cover the number of times the respondent had called police because of danger, left home because of a violent incident, partner had been arrested because of violence, and partner physically abused respondent. Variables about events that occurred while the respondent and abuser were separated include how often the partner harassed the respondent on the phone, wrote threatening letters, violated legal restrictions, refused to leave the respondent's home, failed to pay child support, and threatened to take the children. Demographic variables include respondent's race or ethnic background, education, marital status, number of children respondent had, number of children who lived with respondent, and employment status and income at the time of the interviews.

Response Rates:   Initial interview: 242 initial interviews were completed from the list of 1,057 selected from the PCRs, which was a response rate of 22.8 percent. One hundred and ninety of the phone numbers were disconnected, and 182 were numbers for homes with no resident females or where the victim listed on the PCR denied that the incident had happened. Eighty-one women refused to be interviewed. Three-month follow-up: Out of 242 women who were interviewed initially, phone interviewers were able to reach 153 women for the three-month follow-up. They were able to make an appointment for the six-month interview with 126 of them. During the three-month calls, nine women refused to be contacted for the six-month interview. At 18 of the numbers, interviewers were told that the respondent was not there or it was the wrong locale. Of the remainder of the telephone numbers, 62 were not in service. Six-month interview: 63 interviews were completed. There were 67 telephone numbers that were not in service. Twenty-four women refused the second interview, 34 were the wrong locale or no respondent, and three claimed to be ineligible or that there was no incident that occurred on the PCR date.

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.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2012-08-22 A Restricted Data Use Agreement form was added to the documentation files that can be downloaded from the study home page.
  • 2006-07-14 Made restricted versions of Parts 1 and 3. In order to comply with the variable width requirements so a complete product suite could be created, eleven variables in Part 4, two variables in Part 5, and two variables in Part 6 were split into two variables (Part A and Part B). The variable counts have been updated to reflect this change.
  • 2006-03-30 File UG3017.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 CQ3017.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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