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Comparison of Victims' Reports and Court Records of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators' Criminal Case Outcomes

NCJ Number
245738
Date Published
Author(s)
Margret E. Bell, Sadie E. Larsen, Lisa A. Goodman, Mary Ann Dutton
Annotation
Intimate partner violence IPV victims often report feeling confused and uninformed about court proceedings, including even about the final disposition of the case against their partner.
Abstract
Intimate partner violence IPV victims often report feeling confused and uninformed about court proceedings, including even about the final disposition of the case against their partner. This is problematic because victims’ decisions in responding to subsequent abuse may be significantly influenced by their beliefs about the outcomes of prior court experiences. Also, researchers often rely on victim report of court case outcomes; discrepancies between women’s reports and official records may account for some of the conflicting findings in the empirical literature. In the current study, we compared the reports of case outcome given by 81 women recruited immediately after the final hearing of an IPV-related criminal case against their perpetrator with court records of case outcome. Findings revealed a fair level of agreement between women’s reports and court files that was significantly different from the level of agreement expected by chance, but far from perfect. Level of agreement increased substantially when cases involving suspended sentences were removed. In reviewing these findings, we discuss the extent to which results can or cannot be interpreted as reflecting the accuracy of women’s knowledge and review their implications for IPV researchers and court systems. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.
Date Created: December 4, 2014