Benefits of Implementing a Pretrial Safety Program for Victims of Domestic Violence

Researchers evaluating the Judicial Oversight Demonstration[1] found that it:

  • Improved victim services and well-being. The Judicial Oversight Demonstration increased community-based victim services. Victims:
    • Felt satisfied with the response of police, prosecutors and the court.
    • Felt pleased with the quality of nongovernmental organization services.
    • Felt that the project would help stop future violence.
    • Reported moderately high levels of safety and well-being 11 months after the incident.

  • Increased offender accountability and changed perceptions. The Judicial Oversight Demonstration increased offender accountability. Offenders in the program:
    • Had more probation requirements than comparison offenders at non-JOD sites.
    • Had a better understanding of the legal process in Dorchester.
    • Complied with court orders to report to probation and batterer intervention programs more frequently than comparison offenders.
    • Were given harsher penalties for violations of some court-ordered requirements. These penalties were enforced more frequently than with comparison offenders.

  • Decreased revictimization. Revictimization decreased in the following ways:
    • In Massachusetts, victims reported lower rates of repeat intimate partner violence.
    • Offenders reported very low rates of repeat intimate partner violence.
    • Offenders who felt the legal system would penalize them for new offenses had lower rates of repeat intimate partner violence.

    The Judicial Oversight Demonstration was best able to reduce revictimization when:

    • The offender was young (age 18 to 29).
    • The offender had a high number of prior arrests (seven or more).
    • The victim and offender did not have children together.
    • Victims were moderately or well supported by their social networks.
    • The victim and offender had been in a relationship for less than three years.

Notes

[1] The Judicial Oversight Demonstration was initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women and NIJ. JOD was a field test with three main objectives: 1) provide consistent responses to domestic violence offenses, 2) coordinate victim advocacy and services, and 3) enforce strong offender accountability and monitoring. The evaluation was conducted by The Urban Institute.

Read the full report Judicial Oversight Demonstration: Culminating Report on the Evaluation and three accompanying reports:

Date Created: August 3, 2009