Cho, H., & Wilke, D. J. (2010). Does police intervention in intimate partner violence work? Estimating the impact of batterer arrest in reducing revictimization. Advances in Social Work, 11(2), 283–302.
Location in the Matrix and methodological Rigor:
Individuals, general, reactive; Moderately Rigorous
What police practice or strategy was examined?
The study examined whether victims of family abuse whose partners were arrested were less re-victimized than those whose partners were not arrested, controlling for several victim characteristics.
How was the intervention evaluated?
The evaluation was based on the National Crime Survey (NCS) from 1987 to 1992 combined with the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which replaced the NCS in 1992, from 1993 to 2003. Each year, a nationally representative sample of households consisting of about 100,000 individuals living in approximately 50,000 households was selected with a stratified, multi-stage, cluster design to answer the survey. Once in the sample, respondents were interviewed every six months for a total of seven interviews over a three year period. Survey questions included whether they were violently victimized by a current or former male spouse or boyfriend during the previous six months, whether the perpetrator was arrested for each incident, characteristics of the victims, and so forth. The target population of the analysis were women age 18 and over who reported being a victim of intimate partner violence in one interview and had been followed up with interviews for at least a year. Using the survey data, the study examined whether arresting an offender affects re-victimization (within one year of the first reported incident), controlling for victim age, race, education, marital status, injury, and survey time (NCS or NCVS survey). Survey time was included as previous studies produced different results regarding the deterrence of arrest using data collected at different periods of time.
What were the key findings?
Arrest reduced the odds of re-victimization by 43.2%, after controlling for age, race, marital status, education, and injury. In addition, the effect of arrest increased over time. From 1987 through 1990, arrest had no significant effect in preventing re-victimization. After 1990, however, the odds of re-victimization following arrest were 46.6% less than compared to those whose partners had not been arrested, controlling for the same variables. Also, the victim’s age and marital status were shown to have effects on re-victimization. Separated or divorced young women showed the highest risk of being re-victimized.
What were the implications for law enforcement?
The authors suggest that arrest of domestic violence offenders significantly reduced re-victimization of victims, and this effect has grown stronger over time. They also suggest that arrest effects varied, depending on the sociodemographic characteristics of the victims and, potentially, of the perpetrators. Law enforcement could benefit by cooperating with social workers.
Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?