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Analysis of Unexamined Issues in the Intimate Partner Homicide Decline: Race, Quality of Victim Services, Offender Accountability, and System Accountability, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
49 pages
Building on the work of Dugan et al. (1999, 2000) and Browne and Williams (1989), this study examined in greater detail the relationship between intimate partner homicide and the variables of gender, race, criminal justice system response, and domestic violence services.
Relevant data were obtained from all 58 counties of California for the period 1987 through 2000. The study examined the net effect of criminal justice system response and federally funded domestic violence shelters on the victimization of white, African-American, and Hispanic males and females. Criminal justice system interventions and offender accountability were measured by arrest, conviction, and incarceration rates for domestic-violence offenses in each county. Domestic-violence victim services were measured by the rate of federally funded shelter-based organizations in each county per 100,000 women by race. Data were structured according to time and place. First, a descriptive analysis of statewide trends was conducted in order to determine changes in rates of intimate partner homicide victimization, as well as changes in resources and criminal justice system responses over time. Second, multivariate regression analyses modeled the effects of the determinants of between-county variation in intimate partner homicide rates across time. Overall, rates of intimate partner homicide victimization declined for all demographic groups over the study period; however, percentage declines were greater for male victims (61 percent) than for females (49 percent). The study found that in urban counties, federally funded domestic-violence, shelter-based organizations were associated with declines in Hispanic female victimization, but not African-American or white female victimization. Also in urban counties, shelters were associated with declines in African-American male victimization, but not African-American female victimization. In rural counties, shelters were associated with overall declines in female victimization. There was no net relationship between any criminal justice system response and victimization by either gender or race. Women generally experienced larger percentage increases in arrest, prosecution, and conviction than men. Overall, white female victimization was greater in urban environments than in rural areas. These findings suggest that funds designed to reduce domestic violence may do more good if directed toward improving the reach and quality of shelter-based organizations, rather than focusing solely on criminal justice system responses to domestic violence. 11 tables and 18 references

Date Published: January 1, 2002