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Houston Police Department’s Domestic Abuse Response Team (D.A.R.T.): An Outcome Evaluation of an Innovative Approach to a Persistent Problem

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $659,300)

In recent years, many law enforcement agencies nationwide have started to introduce co-response models as a strategy for addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) and connecting victims with support and services. Co-response models pair a victim advocate with a sworn law enforcement officer for on-scene response to IPV-related calls for service. Although this approach has increased in popularity, little is known about the effectiveness of co-response models for reducing revictimization and the escalation of violence or increasing service utilization. The proposed study is a two-phased implementation and fidelity assessment and outcome evaluation of an innovative co-responder program implemented by the Houston Police Department (HPD) in 2021, following a pilot test in select neighborhoods in 2020. HPD developed the Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) model to respond to increases in IPV-related homicides, particularly among underserved communities where a lack of trust in police has resulted in reduced engagement with law enforcement and other service providers. DART is a multidisciplinary program focused on reducing barriers to services and treating the underlying symptoms of IPV. A key focus of the DART program is on bringing services to victims and/or providing a warm handoff to ensure that victims get the support and resources they need.  Phase 1 of the evaluation will assess the extent to which DART has been implemented as designed and with fidelity to the original model. Phase 2 will involve a quasi-experimental test of the effectiveness of the program on key outcomes of interest, including revictimization, lethality, and referrals to and use of victim services. Findings from the evaluation will inform best practices in the implementation of co-responder models in jurisdictions nationwide and provide HPD with concrete information on the effectiveness of the program and recommendations for continuing to enhance its value and impact for victims. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 20, 2023