Davis, R., Weisburd, D., & Hamilton, E. (2007). Preventing repeat incidents of family abuse: A randomized field trial of a second responder program in Redlands, CA. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:
Individuals, Focused, Reactive; Very Rigorous; No evidence of an effect
What police practice or strategy was examined?
The study examined the impact of a second responder intervention implemented in Redlands, California. Such interventions included a home visit by an officer and domestic violence detective- to ensure that the victim had information about and access to resources and services, to answer any questions they had about the complaint or the justice process, and to encourage a sense of trust in the police and the criminal justice system as a whole. The authors examined not only whether a second responder visit mattered, but also whether a faster second responder visit would lead to better outcomes in domestic violence incidents.
How was the intervention evaluated?
The intervention was evaluated using a randomized controlled experiment in which households reporting a domestic incident to the police were assigned to one of three experimental conditions: (1) home visit by second responder within 24 hours (n=75); (b) home visit by second responder a week after (n=77); or (c) no home visit by a second responder (n=148). To determine the treatment effect, the authors searched police reports for any new incidents reported by the same victim six months after the initial incident and conducted victim interview to investigate any new incident. The interview success rate was 41%.
What were the key findings?
There was no evidence that the second responder intervention or faster response helped reduce the potential for subsequent abuse. In fact, they found evidence suggests—although not definitively–that the intervention increased abusive incidents (14% higher of any subsequent abusive incident for those assigned to the second response condition than for controls).
What were the implications for law enforcement?
The authors suggested a strong caution to those funding and implementing second response programs.
Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?