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Exploratory Research on the Impact of the Growing Oil Industry in North Dakota and Montana on Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $498,418)

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the Bakken oil development on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The impact of increased interpersonal violence, or perceptions of an increase, will be studied. This empirical research will help government officials and policy makers, legal and criminal justice officials, oil industry executives, and health and human service professionals to develop policies and best practices to address interpersonal violence in the oil patch. The following questions will be examined. How extensive is the increase in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking? Is it uniform across the region? Are changes commensurate with population growth? What are the characteristics of victims and offenders? How have these changes impacted the lives of individuals and the communities in which they reside? What policies have been effective to address interpersonal violence in the oil patch? Informed by a preliminary study of this topic by the PI and a co-PI, the applicant proposes a multidisciplinary, mixed method exploratory research study. The quantitative component includes a trend analysis of secondary data from 2002-2014 on the incidence and distribution of these interpersonal crimes in 33 oil-impacted counties and two reservations in ND and MT, including geo-mapping. This analysis also includes t-test comparisons with non-impacted counties to determine if changes are unique to oil boom communities. Publicly available data will be retrieved from sources such as the UCR and NIBRS. The support of several local and state agency directors to gather supplementary secondary data has been secured. The qualitative component will include five focus groups with elected officials, attorneys and law enforcement; victim service providers; health and human service workers; community members; and tribal members in oil-impacted communities. In addition, 80 qualitative interviews with key informants including victims, community members, first-responders, clergy, law enforcement, hospital personnel, social service workers, school principals, victim service providers, local and state attorneys, elected officials, and oil industry leaders will be conducted. Established laws and policies will also be examined from a victim-based policy perspective. Reports of our exploratory findings will be distributed to key stakeholders. Empirical findings will be presented at national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 18, 2013