Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a well-identified public health issue affecting over 1.5 million women each year. In the last 35 years, public attention to the problem has emerged from virtual silence to priority status in the criminal justice and public health systems. Though the criminal justice community and public health system have recognized and targeted the problems of IPV, the extent to which these resources are accessible and utilized by IPV victims and perpetrators, whether a satisfactory outcome occurs, and whether available resources are effective at preventing IPV, has not been adequately determined.
The proposed research capitalizes on 20 years of research from the National Youth Survey Family Study (NYSFS) which has followed a nationally representative sample of adolescents into adulthood, resulting in longitudinal measures of IPV, involvement in the justice system, and use of community services. Additionally, recent data collections of these same measures have taken place with the original respondents' parents and adult children. Subjects will be identified as perpetrators and victims based upon their responses to the Conflict Tactics Scale and long-used NYSFS self-report measures, which will allow subsequent analyses to be based upon perpetrators and victims who have not necessarily encountered the justice system and who represent a variety of sociodemographic subpopulations. Self-reported measures of contact with the justice system are augmented in the NYSFS with official records of arrest from previous data collections and a proposed new data collection which would add 15 years of official records to the dataset.
The ultimate goal of this project is to determine to what extent criminal justice and public health resources such as arrest, calling the police after an incident, public health services, or informal contacts are being used and are effective in reducing or eliminating future IPV. Specific objectives of the project include: (1) Determine the prevalence of arrest in IPV cases and whether perpetrator arrest results in a differential IPV outcome; (2) Determine the prevalence of calling the police among IPV victims and whether calling the police results in a differential IPV outcome; (3) Examine IPV perpetrator and victim use of public health system services; and (4) Examine the unmet mental health needs of IPV perpetrators and victims who enter the judicial system or access public health services for problems other than IPV. Additional analyses will also examine potential variation between sociodemographic subpopulations, including sex, ethnicity/race, urban/suburban/rural residence, SES, employment, educational, and neighborhood social disorganization.