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Creating a Structured Decision-making Model for Police Intervention in Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
56 pages
The goals of this research were to create a tool to help police standardize their practice in responding to incidents of domestic violence and to systematically classify offenders into risk categories.
This project was the result of collaboration among the Berkeley Police Department (California), the East Bay Public Safety Corridor partnership, and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. It was funded by the National Institute of Justice as part of its locally initiated partnership grants, which are designed to forge collaborative relationships between researchers and practitioners. The collaboration partners decided to create two instruments for a structured system of police decision making in handling domestic violent incidents. Under this system, the patrol officer would complete a Domestic Violence Safety Assessment/Supplemental Report, which is both a protocol for the officer to follow and a data collection instrument for the Domestic Violence Prevention Unit (DVPU) and the District Attorney. This Supplemental Report does not replace the existing standard report. The second tool to be created was a risk assessment instrument to be used by the DVPU to classify offenders into risk categories. A matrix to determine the level and type of intervention was created by DVPU in conjunction with outside advocacy groups. The database used to sample cases became operational September 1, 1996. All reports written by police were entered into this database. In order to have enough recidivists on which to base a model of reoffending, cases were stratified by recidivism status before sampling. Using the data gathered from the full police reports (n=138), a series of analyses examined the relationship between reoffending and various factors compiled from the records. Overall, the project succeeded in creating a useful Domestic Violence Safety Assessment/Supplemental Report for the Berkeley Police Department, and it developed a preliminary risk assessment that the DVPU can use to develop appropriate interventions based on risk of recidivism. The project further developed and sustained a locally initiated partnership between researchers and practitioners to work together on the problem of domestic violence. Next steps in furthering this work are recommended. 4 figures, 15 tables, 29 references, and appended data collection form

Date Published: February 1, 2000