Communities across the United States are focusing on creating a coordinated community response (CCR) to intimate partner violence (IPV). Illinois has taken an innovative approach to facilitating CCRs statewide. Beginning in 1990, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts created a network of Family Violence Coordinating Councils (FVCC) ' 27 across 22 Judicial Circuits. While FVCC are the primary vehicles for the creation of CCRs nationwide, there is limited empirical evidence regarding whether they facilitate desired systems change in the criminal and civil justice response to IPV (CCJ). The proposed study will examine Illinois FVCC and their statewide structure by investigating a) the extent to which FVCCs have an impact on proximal goals (e.g., improved knowledge and relationships among key stakeholders), and distal goals (e.g., systems change in the CCJ response to IPV), and b) those factors and processes that facilitate FVCC success (e.g., collaborative capacity).
The proposed study will employ a multi-method approach including key informant interviews with FVCC coordinators, survey research with FVCC members, archival analysis of CCJ statistics and FVCC documents (e.g., meeting minutes) and ethnographic methods (in purposively sampled communities). Study participants, recruited with the aid of FVCC coordinators, will include multiple stakeholders (N = ~2000): IPV survivors; advocates; law enforcement and probation officers; prosecutors; court personnel; judges; human service providers; child protection workers; school personnel; faith-based leaders; and/or concerned citizens. Survivors will be recruited through local agencies and other local venues. Data will be gathered regarding FVCC collaborative capacity (e.g., membership, climate, leadership); FVCC goals, activities, and accomplishments; stakeholders' knowledge of IPV and their local response to IPV; stakeholders' relationships; local policies and protocols; and interagency coordination.
Statewide data will be accessed from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) from 1996 to present regarding various CCJ and service utilization statistics (e.g., arrest rates, order of protection rates, referral rates to shelter programs). To examine research questions, quantitative (e.g., multilevel modeling, social network analysis) and qualitative methods will be employed. The proposed study has important implications for examining the FVCC in their promotion of a CCR ' an area of inquiry that has received little consideration but requires urgent attention given the widespread implementation of FVCC to produce systems change.