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Intimate Partner Violence: Interventions

Rates of intimate partner homicides dropped about 30 percent during the past 25 years as public awareness of, and policy responses to, intimate partner violence grew stronger. Yet, a study of domestic violence policies in 48 large U.S. cities found that policies designed to reduce a woman's exposure to an abusive partner sometimes have contradictory results. For example, although warrantless arrest, firearm confiscation, prosecutions, and increases in Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefit levels were associated with lower rates of domestic violence, interventions were sometimes followed by retaliation from an abusive partner.

NIJ researchers have shown that understanding demographic differences among victims and abusers — such as race, level of education, and marital status — helps predict which interventions will be successful in specific groups[1]

Researchers also have found that a minority of suspects identified as “chronically aggressive intimate partners ” continue to abuse their partners regardless of the intervention received (whether arrested, counseled, or temporarily separated from their partners).[2]

Common Intervention Strategies

Learn about five common interventions:


[note 1] Dugan, L., D.S. Nagin, and R. Rosenfeld. "Do Domestic Violence Services Save Lives?" NIJ Journal 250 (November 2003): 20–25, NCJ 196548.

[note 2] Maxwell, C.D., J.H. Garner, and J.A. Fagan. The Effects of Arrest on Intimate Partner Violence: New Evidence from Spouse Assault Replication Program. Research in Brief. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, July 2001, NCJ 188199.

Date Created: October 23, 2007