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.

Charlotte [North Carolina] Spouse Assault Replication Project, 1987-1989 (ICPSR 6114) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study is a replication and extension of an experiment conducted in Minneapolis (MINNEAPOLIS INTERVENTION PROJECT, 1986-1987 [ICPSR 9808]) to test the efficacy of three types of police response to spouse abuse. Three experimental treatments were employed: (1) advising and possibly separating the couple, (2) issuing a citation (an order to appear in court to answer specific charges) to the offender, and (3) arresting the offender. The main focus of the project concerned whether arrest is the most effective law enforcement response for deterring recidivism of spouse abusers. Cases were randomly assigned to one of the three treatments and were followed for at least six months to determine whether recidivism occurred. Measures of recidivism were obtained through official police records and victim interviews. Cases that met the following eligibility guidelines were included in the project: (1) a call involving a misdemeanor offense committed by a male offender aged 18 or over against a female victim aged 18 or over who were spouses, (2) ex-spouses, (3) cohabitants, or (4) ex-cohabitants. Also, both suspect and victim had to be present when officers arrived at the scene. Victims were interviewed twice. The first interview occurred shortly after the "presenting incident," the incident that initiated a call for police assistance. This initial interview focused on episodes of abuse that occurred between the time of the presenting incident and the day of the initial interview. In particular, detailed data were gathered on the nature of physical violence directed against the victim, the history of the victim's marital and cohabitating relationships, the nature of the presenting incident prior to the arrival of the police, the actual actions taken by the police at the scene, post-incident separations and reunions of the victim and the offender, recidivism since the presenting incident, the victim's previous abuse history, alcohol and drug use of both the victim and the offender, and the victim's help-seeking actions. Questions were asked regarding whether the offender had threatened to hurt the victim, actually hurt or tried to hurt the victim, threatened to hurt any member of the family, actually hurt or tried to hurt any member of the family, threatened to damage property, or actually damaged any property. In addition, criminal histories and arrest data for the six-month period subsequent to the presenting incident were collected for offenders. A follow-up interview was conducted approximately six months after the presenting incident and focused primarily on recidivism since the initial interview. Arrest recidivism was defined as any arrest for any subsequent offense by the same offender against the same victim committed within six months of the presenting incident. Victims were asked to estimate how often each type of victimization had occurred and to answer more detailed questions on the first and most recent incidents of victimization.

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.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Police Calls Assigned to Randomized Treatments
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No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Offender Criminal Histories
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No downloadable data files available.
DS3:  Victim Initial Interviews
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No downloadable data files available.
DS4:  Victim Follow-Up Interviews
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No downloadable data files available.
DS5:  Offender Court Records
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No downloadable data files available.
DS7:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Police Calls Assigned to Randomized Treatments
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No downloadable data files available.
DS8:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Offender Criminal Histories
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No downloadable data files available.
DS9:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Victim Initial Interviews
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No downloadable data files available.
DS10:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Victim Follow-Up Interviews
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No downloadable data files available.
DS11:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Offender Court Records
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No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Hirschel, J. David, et al. CHARLOTTE [NORTH CAROLINA] SPOUSE ASSAULT REPLICATION PROJECT, 1987-1989. Compiled by J. David Hirschel, et al., University of North Carolina at Charlotte. ICPSR06114-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2006-07-13. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06114.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 (87-IJ-CX-K004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrests, battered women, criminal histories, deterrence, domestic violence, intervention strategies, misdemeanor offenses, police records, police response, recidivism, spouse abuse, victims

Geographic Coverage:   Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1987-08--1989-06

Date of Collection:  

  • 1987-08--1989-06

Unit of Observation:   individual

Universe:   Calls for assistance received by the Charlotte, North Carolina, Police Department from August 1987 through June 1989 regarding domestic disturbances that met predefined eligibility requirements.

Data Types:   survey data, and event/transaction data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   This study of police response to spouse abuse in Charlotte was initiated in response to a National Institute of Justice request for proposals to replicate and extend a spouse assault study conducted in Minneapolis. In the Charlotte project, the efficacy of three types of police response to spouse abuse was tested: (1) advising and possibly separating the couple, (2) issuing a citation to the offender, and (3) arresting the offender. The main focus of the project concerned whether arrest is the most effective law enforcement response for deterring spouse abusers from committing subsequent acts of abuse. Cases that met the following eligibility guidelines were included in the project: a call involving a misdemeanor offense committed by a male offender aged 18 or over against a female victim aged 18 or over who were spouses, ex-spouses, cohabitants, or ex-cohabitants. The cases were followed for at least six months to determine whether recidivism occurred. Arrest recidivism was defined as any arrest for any subsequent offense by the same offender against the same victim committed within six months of the "presenting incident," the incident which initiated a call for police assistance. The results of this research are intended to help police departments determine their policies for dealing with incidents of spouse abuse.

Study Design:   The study involved the entire Charlotte Police Department and operated 24 hours a day in the city during the period August 1987 through June 1989. When officers responded to a call for assistance regarding a domestic disturbance, they determined whether the case met all of the eligibility criteria. If so, the officers radioed the dispatcher for one of the three treatment codes, which was randomly assigned by computer. The officers then carried out the mandated treatment code unless something occurred that prevented them from doing so. A total of 686 eligible calls for assistance were received. All ineligible cases were explained in writing. Under some circumstances an otherwise eligible case was excluded, such as if a victim insisted the offender be arrested, if the offender threatened or assaulted an officer, or if an officer believed the offender posed imminent danger to the victim. Within a few days after the officers carried out the assigned responses, research staff sent a letter to the victim requesting an interview. If the victim did not respond to the first letter, she received a second letter, follow-up phone calls, and follow-up home visits. Special care was taken to minimize the likelihood of the offender's intercepting the letter and becoming aware of the researchers' purposes. Follow-up interviews with victims were conducted approximately six months later. Measures of recidivism were obtained through official police records and victim interviews.

Sample:   The sample consisted of victims of spouse abuse, as defined by the researchers, which occurred in Charlotte, North Carolina, between August 1987 and June 1989. Randomized treatments were assigned to 686 eligible police calls for assistance. Of these, the researchers identified 646 victims whom they attempted to interview. Initial and follow-up interviews were completed with 419 and 324 victims, respectively. Offender criminal histories were obtained from official police records for a total of 650 different offenders who were involved in the 686 eligible calls for police assistance included in the study. Of the cases for which a citation or arrest was the response, citations were issued in 181 cases, and arrests were made in 271 cases. Records were unavailable in nine cases, making a total of 443 cases for which court records were obtained (court records were not applicable to the cases that received counseling/separation treatment).

Mode of Data Collection:   face-to-face interview, record abstracts

Description of Variables:   The initial interview with the victims focused on episodes of abuse which occurred between the time of the presenting incident and the day of the initial interview. In particular, detailed data were gathered on the nature of physical violence directed against the victim, the history of the victim's marital and cohabitating relationships, the nature of the presenting incident prior to the arrival of the police, the actual actions taken by the police at the scene, post-incident separations and reunions of the victim and the offender, recidivism since the presenting incident, the victim's previous abuse history, alcohol and drug use of both the victim and the offender, and the victim's help-seeking actions. The follow-up interview focused primarily upon recidivism since the initial interview. Victims were asked to estimate how often each type of victimization had occurred and to answer more detailed questions on the first and most recent incidents of victimization. In both of these interviews, victims were asked questions regarding the nature of the abusive incidents. More specifically, each victim was asked about six types of victimization, whether the offender had threatened to hurt her, actually hurt or tried to hurt her, threatened to hurt any member of the family, actually hurt or tried to hurt any member of the family, threatened to damage property, or actually damaged any property. For each offender, data were collected on arrests relating to offenses against the original victim. Criminal history information concentrated on acts occurring during the six months subsequent to the presenting incident. Some information was collected on criminal background prior to the presenting incident, such as number of arrests and number of arrests for violent crimes. For offenders who received citations or were arrested, data were collected from court records regarding the disposition of their cases, including charges, type of release, disposition of case, sentencing, and fines.

Response Rates:   During the study period, 686 eligible calls for assistance were received. Of these, 419 (61 percent) resulted in completed initial interviews. Follow-up interviews were conducted with 324 (77 percent) of the respondents who completed the initial interview.

Presence of Common Scales:   The Conflict Tactic Scale is included in the victim interview questionnaire.

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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-07-13 All parts were moved to restricted access. Parts 3 and 4 were updated to add SAS transport (XPORT) files, SPSS portable files, and Stata setup and system files. The variable count for Part 3 was corrected.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 13 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 12 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 6 and flagged as study-level files, so that they 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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