Individuals – Pate et al. (1992)

Study Reference:

Pate, A., Hamilton, E.E., & Annan, S. (1992). Metro-Dade spouse abuse replication project: Draft final report. Washington, DC: National Institute 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 effectiveness of a spousal assault follow-up intervention by Safe Streets Unit (SSU) detectives in the Metro-Dade (Miami) Police Department (see the summary of Pate & Hamilton, 1992) for the deterrent effect of arrest in misdemeanor domestic violence incidents). Detectives from the SSU made contact with victims of domestic violence after the initial police response. The follow-up process was intended to provide additional support to the victims. Based on detective activity sheets, this included referrals to support programs, legal advice on obtaining an injunction, and further intervention to prevent repeat incidents. The intervention aimed to resolve the underlying causes of domestic disputes and assaults, with the objective of preventing future conflicts that could escalate.

How was the intervention evaluated?

The SSU’s follow up intervention was evaluated through a randomized experimental design. Upon the arrival of reports of eligible cases at the SSU Office, the on-site research coordinator conducted randomization, with the cases being randomly assigned to either receive or not receive the follow-up intervention. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed using victim interviews.

What were the key findings?

There was no evidence that the follow-up visit by a SSU detective reduced the prevalence of victim-reported subsequent offenses by the original suspect, including subsequent offenses, threats, or property damage by the suspect. Overall, none of the study analyses suggested impacts of the SSU on subsequent domestic violence.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The findings suggest that domestic violence follow-up programs may not reduce repeat offenses by domestic violence perpetrators. This is in line with other evaluations of second responder programs, which do not generally show evidence of reductions in victim-reported abuse.(see the link below to the Petersen et al., 2022 systematic review on this topic).

Where can I find more information about this intervention, similar types of intervention, or related studies?