Casey, R. L., Berkman, M., Stover, C. S., Gill, K., Durso, S., & Marans, S. (2007). Preliminary results of a police-advocate home-visit intervention project for victims of domestic violence. Journal of Psychological Trauma, 6(1), 39-49.
Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:
Individuals, Focused, Reactive; Moderately Rigorous; Effective
What police practice or strategy was examined?
This study examined the impact of The Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention (DVHVI), a neighborhood-based home visit follow-up project implemented by police-advocate teams in four of New Haven’s ten policing districts. Community-based patrol officers were paired with advocates, who were non-degreed but clinically supervised staff of the Yale Child Study Center, and received training in basic domestic violence issues, crisis intervention, and child development principles. They were then assigned to provide follow-up home visits without announcement to families from which an intimate partner assault had been reported. Home visits took place within 5 to 7 days of the reported incidents. The purpose was to monitor victim safety, improve victims’ understanding and enforcement of court orders, increase victims’ access to information and services, and provide psychological screening and support and access to treatment for victims and their children.
How was the intervention evaluated?
Study participants included 204 battered women who received immediate police intervention at the time of a domestic violence incident resulting in an arrest and who were residing with their children at the time of the violence. Half of them (102) participated in the DVHVI in which they received at least 1 follow-up home visit. The other half of the domestic violence cases occurred in 6 other policing districts where the DVHVI was not being implemented. These cases were identified from a review of police reports and were selected to serve as a comparison group for their proximity in time and other variables such as seriousness of charges. Call for service data were compared between treatment and comparison groups 12 months after the incident to assess the effect of the DVHVI program on offender recidivism.
What were the key findings?
The authors found a significant reduction in calls for police service for the intervention group. Twenty percent of women in the intervention group received police intervention for an incident of domestic violence during the 12-month follow up period, in contrast to forty-two percent in the comparison group.
What were the implications for law enforcement?
The authors suggest that unannounced home-visits by police officers who are trained in handling domestic incidents and accompanied by social workers can reduce repeat incidents of domestic violence. However, the authors stated that further investigation is needed, as the results of this study were in contrast to previous research showing an increase in repeat calls for service following a police-social work home visit intervention in New York housing projects.
Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?