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Boston Police Department Domestic Violence Research Project, 1993-1994 (ICPSR 6483) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The Domestic Violence Research Project was a pilot study designed to examine the dynamics of domestic violence within two of the ten police districts that comprise the city of Boston. The objectives were to collect data on domestic violence in greater detail than previously possible, conduct various analyses on this information, and determine how the findings could best be used to improve the police, prosecutorial, and social service responses to domestic violence. Data for 1993 are a stratified random sample of reported domestic violence incidents occurring throughout the year. The sample represents approximately 27 percent of the domestic violence incidents reported in 1993 for the two districts studied, B3 and D4. The 1994 data include all reported incidents occurring in the two districts during the period May to July. After the incident selection process was completed, data were collected from police incident reports, follow-up investigation reports, criminal history reports, and court dockets. Variables include arrest offenses, time of incident, location of incident, witnesses (including children), nature and extent of injuries, drug and alcohol use, history of similar incidents, whether there were restraining orders in effect, and basic demographic information on victims and offenders. Criminal history information was coded into five distinct categories: (1) violent offenses, (2) nonviolent offenses, (3) domestic violence offenses, (4) drug/alcohol offenses, and (5) firearms offenses.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  1993 Data for District B3 - Download All Files (1,457 KB)
DS2:  1993 Data for District D4 - Download All Files (915 KB)
DS3:  1994 Data for District B3 - Download All Files (1,286 KB)
DS4:  1994 Data for District D4 - Download All Files (842 KB)
DS6:  SPSS Data Definition Statements for 1993 Data - Download All Files (194 KB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup
DS7:  SPSS Data Definition Statements for 1994 Data - Download All Files (196 KB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup

Study Description

Citation

Boston Police Department. BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESEARCH PROJECT, 1993-1994. ICPSR version. Boston, MA: Boston Police Department [producer], 1994. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1996. doi:10.3886/ICPSR06483.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (93-IJ-CX-K009)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrest records, criminal histories, domestic violence, police departments, police response

Geographic Coverage:   Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Date of Collection:  

  • 1994

Unit of Observation:   Reported incidents of domestic violence.

Universe:   Domestic violence incidents in Boston, Massachusetts, occurring in Districts B3 and D4 during 1993-1994.

Data Types:   event/transaction data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The Domestic Violence Research Project was a comprehensive, research-oriented pilot study designed to examine the dynamics of domestic violence within two of the ten police districts that comprise the city of Boston. The objectives were to collect data on domestic violence in greater detail than previously possible, conduct various analyses on this information, and determine how the findings could best be used to improve the police, prosecutorial, and social service response to domestic violence. Some of the important questions this project attempted to address were: Are there any variations in the patterns of domestic abuse based on neighborhood demographics? What types of relationships are most prone to such behavior? How often are children involved/present? How often does an incident involve a restraining order violation? How often are injuries incurred? How often and why are charges dropped against offenders? What is the rate of revictimization? What role, if any, does the criminal background of the offender play? To what extent are drugs and/or alcohol involved?

Study Design:   The study was conducted in two districts within Boston, Massachusetts: district B3, which encompasses Mattapan and North Dorchester, and district D4, which encompasses the South End, Back Bay, and portions of the Fenway area. The project involved both retrospective and prospective data collection and analysis phases. The retrospective phase involved collecting a random sample of incidents from the two pilot districts from throughout the 1993 calendar year. After the sample selection process was completed, data from police incident reports, follow-up investigation reports, criminal history reports, and court dockets were entered into the database. Since background checks were performed in February of 1994, the researchers were able to obtain information on the offenders' criminal conduct since the 1993 sample incident as well as their prior alleged criminal history. The prospective phase of the project consisted of collecting current data for 1994 and comparing it with the 1993 sample, to improve the domestic violence database and to provide the domestic violence detectives with a case management tool. During the period from May to July 1994, 736 incidents were collected for District 3 and 416 incidents for District 4 from the domestic violence-related police incident reports of the Department's Field Reports Unit. The opportunity the prospective phase offered was the ability of the detectives to speak with victims and to relay this information to the researchers during the project. To assist with this, the researchers developed a Victim Interview Form for the detectives to complete after speaking with the victims. This allowed more data to be collected than could be collected for the 1993 incidents. Conversely, the 1994 criminal history information was less informative because the time frame was only, at most, four months. In addition, data were not collected from original court dockets for the 1994 incidents because the majority of the cases were still pending at the time of the project. A key component of the Project was the establishment of a "Partnership Group" involving criminal justice agencies, community social service organizations, and a variety of advocate groups. The Partnership Group provided a wide variety of perspectives on the issue of domestic violence, and allowed the Project to be responsive to a broad range of public agencies beyond law enforcement. During initial discussions, each member described the types of information that would be most useful for problem-solving and prevention of domestic violence. These discussions contributed to the construction of the initial variable list of the Project. The Partnership Group later reviewed and improved upon the 1993 database design for use with the 1994 data. For purposes of this project, a "violent offense" was defined as any form of assault against a person, including threats. If the assault was further defined as a domestic situation on the offender's criminal history sheet, it was categorized as a "domestic violence offense". Domestic violence was defined within the Boston Police Department as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members: causing or attempting to cause physical harm, placing another in fear of imminent physical harm, or causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress. Family or household members were considered persons who either were currently or had been married to one another, were or had been residing together in the same household, were or had been related by blood or marriage, had a child in common regardless of whether they had ever been married to each other or lived together, or were or had been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, considering the length and type of relationship, the frequency of interaction, and the length of time since the termination of the relationship.

Sample:   For 1993, cases were selected using a stratified random sample of reported domestic violence incidents occurring throughout 1993. Cases from 1994 were not randomly selected. Rather, they were all reported incidents of domestic violence occurring during May 1 to July 31, 1994.

Data Source:

criminal justice records, and personal interviews

Description of Variables:   Data were collected on a number of areas, including arrest offenses, time of incident, location of incident, witnesses (including children), nature and extent of injuries, drug and alcohol use, history of similar incidents, whether there were restraining orders in effect, and basic demographic information on victims and offenders. Criminal history information was also collected and coded into five distinct categories. These were (1) violent offenses, (2) nonviolent offenses, (3) domestic violence offenses, (4) drug/alcohol offenses, and (5) firearms offenses.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

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:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 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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