This project proposes to use pooled data from the Spouse Abuse Replication Project (SARP) to build upon the limitations of the criminal career paradigm of specialization and escalation as it applies to domestic violence. Upon documenting the offense mix associated with offenders, the investigators will estimate escalation coefficients in order to examine whether offenses among the offenders increase in severity over time. The project asks three questions. First, to what extent do offenders exhibit different kinds of offending behavior on subsequent offending occasions? Second, to what extent do offenders exhibit escalation of offense seriousness over time? Third, do escalation patterns vary across different groups of offenders defined by demographic characteristics and the mix of prior offending activity?
To document an offender's prior offense mix, a latent class model will be used. This model will categorize offenders as heterogeneous or specialist. The project will collect similar information from data files on subsequent incidents in order to determine the escalation in severity of future offenses against the same victim. A forward specialization coefficient (FSC) will be used to analyze the offense specialization. This project will then determine if escalation patterns vary across groups of offenders by examining demographic characteristics and offense mixes.