Revictimization and Victim Satisfaction in Domestic Violence Cases Processed in the Quincy, Massachusetts, District Court, 1995-1997 (ICPSR 3790)
This study sought to examine (1) the occurrence of revictimization, (2) the impact of case processing in Quincy District Court (QDC) on the disclosure of revictimization, and (3) victim satisfaction with various components of the criminal justice system. This study was undertaken as part of a secondary analysis of data originally collected for a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsored evaluation of a "model" domestic violence program located in Quincy, Massachusetts (RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT COURT, 1995-1997 [ICPSR 3076]). Administrative records data were collected from the Quincy District Court's Department of Probation, two batterer treatment programs servicing offenders, and police incident reports, as well as survey data administered to victims. Included are criminal history data, records of civil restraining orders, probation department data on prosecutorial charges, case disposition and risk assessment information, data on offender treatment program participation, police incident reports, and self-report victim survey data. These data were collected with three primary goals: (1) to obtain the victim's point of view about what she wanted from the criminal justice system, and how the criminal justice system responded to the domestic violence incident in which she was involved, (2) to get details about the study incidents and the context of the victim-offender relationship that are not typically available in official statistics, and (3) to hear directly from victims about the defendant's reoffending behavior.
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Hotaling, Gerald, and Eve S. Buzawa. REVICTIMIZATION AND VICTIM SATISFACTION IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES PROCESSED IN THE QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT COURT, 1995-1997. ICPSR version. Lowell, MA: University of Massachusetts, Dept. of Criminal Justice [producer], 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03790.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03790.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2000-WT-VX-0019)
Scope of Study
Universe: Any male defendant involved in a male-to-female domestic violence case occurring between June 1995 and February 1996 and resulting in an arrest or arraignment before the Quincy District Court in Massachusetts.
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Study Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine (1) the occurrence of revictimization, (2) the impact of case processing in Quincy District Court (QDC) on the disclosure of revictimization, and (3) victim satisfaction with various components of the criminal justice system. This study was undertaken as part of a secondary analysis of data originally collected for a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsored evaluation of a "model" domestic violence program located in Quincy, Massachusetts (RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT COURT, 1995-1997 [ICPSR 3076]). The Quincy, Massachusetts, site was chosen for the evaluation because researchers wanted to explore a setting in which a policy of "aggressive enforcement" was actually practiced. Earlier research revealed that the police, district attorney's office, probation systems, and judges in Quincy shared a vision and had developed a truly integrated, systemwide strategy incorporating the best practices of full enforcement for a wide range of domestic violence incidents. Beginning in 1986, the Quincy District Court initiated what was once described as one of the nation's first, and most comprehensive, proactive domestic violence programs. The court's aggressive, pro-intervention strategy was recognized as a national model by the United States' Violence Against Women Agency (VAWA) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In recent years, the VAWA has designated the QDC as a national training site to be emulated by other jurisdictions searching for an effective, integrated systemwide response to domestic incidents. The four main goals of the original research evaluation were: (1) to describe the workings of the primary components of this model jurisdiction in its response to domestic violence, specifically (a) what the police actually did when called to a domestic violence incident, (b) decisions made by the prosecutor's office and the court in their handling of these incidents, (c) how many victims talked to a victim advocate, and (d) how many offenders received batterer treatment and/or were incarcerated, (2) to describe the types of incidents, victims, and offenders seen in a full enforcement jurisdiction to determine whether the types of cases coming to attention in such a setting looked similar to cases reported in studies from other jurisdictions, and (3) to interview victims to hear directly about their experiences with a model court in order to examine the impact of a rigorous intervention strategy upon a population of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
Study Design: The original evaluation analyzed the actions of police, prosecutors, and courts upon 353 domestic violence cases seen by the QDC in Massachusetts over a seven-month period. To facilitate the design, information was needed from multiple sources and perspectives covering data from significant periods of time both before and after the occurrence of the incident. Data were collected from six sources: (1) Offender's criminal history data collected from the QDC's Department of Probation, which provided criminal biographies for all 353 defendants in the sample. For this research, each defendant's criminal activity was analyzed both prior to the study incident and for one year subsequent to that incident. (2) Civil restraining order data that came from the Registry of Civil Restraining Orders implemented by the state of Massachusetts and was the first statewide, centrally computerized record-keeping system on restraining orders. This registry was primarily designed to provide the police and courts with accurate and up-to-date information on the existence of active orders. The QDC Department of Probation provided information from this registry on the number and type of civil restraining orders taken out in Massachusetts against all 353 defendants both before the occurrence of the study incident and for a one-year period following the study incident. (3) Prosecutor's office/district court data collected from the QDC Department of Probation. These data provided information on all 353 defendants concerning prosecutorial charges. For each defendant in the study, information was provided on up to three domestic violence-related charges for the study incidents and any additional non-domestic violence related charges. Data from the Quincy District Court also included initial and final dispositions and their dates. (4) Batterer treatment programs servicing the defendants in the study. Many study defendants had to enroll in a batterer treatment program as a condition of probation. Researchers contacted the directors of the two batterer treatment programs that served the QDC and received data on offenders' treatment completion status at the end of the study period. (5) Police incident reports taken from seven departments served by the QDC. These reports were used to measure the officer's perspective and actions taken with respect to the incident, what the call for service involved, characteristics of the incident, socio- demographics of the participants, and their narrative description of the incidents and their stated response. (6) A victim survey designed to capture the perspective of the victims on the study incidents and their handling. The interviews had three primary goals: (a) to obtain the victim's point of view about what she wanted from the criminal justice system, and how the criminal justice system responded to the domestic violence incident in which she was involved, (b) to get details about the study incidents and the context of the victim-offender relationship that are not typically available in official statistics, and (c) to hear directly from victims about the defendant's reoffending behavior. Because one of the chief aims of the victim survey was to tap into the victim's perspective about experiences with the criminal justice system, victim interviews did not take place until approximately 12 months after the occurrence of the study incident. The research team used a one-year time frame because they needed to wait until victims passed through contact with the prosecutor's office and court. The victim survey produced a revictimization rate substantially higher than that reported in official criminal justice data. The secondary analysis of these data was undertaken to examine victim re-reporting among those who reported a new incident 12 months post target incident.
Sample: The sample of defendants and primary victims was selected based on domestic violence cases that resulted in an arrest and arraignment before the Quincy District Court during a seven-month study period. All consecutive arrests for domestic violence involving male defendants and female victims that occurred between June 1995 and February 1996 were initially examined for inclusion in the final sample. From that pool, the research team eliminated all cases involving defendants and primary victims who were under the age of 17, cases involving same-sex relationships, and cases involving male victims and female defendants. The final sample was composed of 353 cases of male-to-female domestic violence. Of the final sample of cases, victims from 118 cases completed the victim survey.
Data used in the original evaluation (RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN THE QUINCY, MASSACHUSETTS, DISTRICT COURT, 1995-1997 [ICPSR 3076]) came from administrative records data collected from the Quincy District Court's Department of Probation, two batterer treatment programs, and police incident reports. Survey data were administered to victims.
Description of Variables: Variables from administrative records include date and location of incident, number of suspects, age and race of victims and offenders, use of weapons, injuries, witnesses, whether there was an existing restraining order and its characteristics, charges filed by police, number and gender of police officers responding to the incident, victim's state at the time of the incident, offender's criminal history, and whether the offender participated in batterer treatment. The victim survey collected data on the victim's education and employment status, current living arrangement, relationship with the offender, how the victim responded to the incident, how afraid the victim was, victim's opinions of police and the prosecutor, victim's sense of control, satisfaction with the court, victim's past violent relationships and child sexual abuse, victim's opinions on what the criminal justice system could do to stop abuse, and whether the victim obtained a restraining order.
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Original ICPSR Release: 2003-10-30
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