Individuals – Stover et al. (2010)

Study Reference:

Stover, C. S., Berkman, M., Desai, R., & Marans, S. (2010). Efficacy of a police-advocacy intervention for victims of domestic violence: 12 month follow-up data. Violence Against Women, 16(4), 410-425.

Location in the Matrix; Methodological Rigor; Outcome:

Individuals; Focused; Reactive; Moderately rigorous; No evidence of an effect

What police practice or strategy was examined?

The Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention (DVHVI) provided advocate/police officer team home visits following a domestic dispute. (The advocates that accompanied police were trained in basic domestic violence issues, crisis intervention, and child development principles, and they were familiar with local domestic violence law, criminal justice processes, and social service resources.) Domestic incidents entered in the study were reported to the New Haven, Connecticut Department of Police Services via a 911 emergency call. For cases in the 5 districts implementing the DVHVI, cases were assigned for follow-up visits with police officer-advocate teams. Cases in 5 other non-DVHVI districts received standard police services.

How was the intervention evaluated?

Eligible cases met three criteria: the case involved an altercation between a male and female intimate partner resulting in criminal charges against the male perpetrator; an arrest of the male perpetrator was made or an arrest warrant was pending; and the case involved a female victim aged 18 or older. Fifty-two female victims that received the DVHVI visits and 55 female victims who did not (a comparison group) were interviewed at 1, 6, and 12 months following a police reported domestic incident to assess repeat violence, service utilization, and symptoms.

What were the key findings?

Women who received the DVHVI were more satisfied with the police and more likely to call them to report both repeat domestic violence and a nonphysical domestic dispute in the 12 months following the initial incident than women in the comparison group. DVHVI participants were significantly more likely to use court-based services and seek mental health treatment for their children.

What were the implications for law enforcement?

The authors suggest that victims of domestic violence are generally appreciative of police-advocacy home-visit outreach. Further, these programs increase victims’ comfort with police, their reporting of domestic disputes, and their use of available social services. However, these interventions do not appear to reduce repeat incidents of domestic violence.

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