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Crime Control Effects of Criminal Sanctions for Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2010
161 pages
This study assessed the extent to which criminal sanctions (prosecution, conviction, and jail) are imposed for violence between intimate partners, as well as whether these sanctions are linked to repeat offending.
A review of 135 English-language publications that reported on sanctions for violence between intimate partners determined that one-third of all reported offenses and approximately three-fifths of all arrests for intimate partner violence (IPV) result in a prosecution. The research also found that one in six reported offenses, one-third of all arrests, and over one-half of all prosecutions for intimate partner violence result in a conviction for intimate partner violence. A detailed review of 32 studies found that the predominant finding reported in this literature is that criminal sanctions have no effect on repeat offending. The literature review also found that methodological weaknesses (small sample sizes, diverse measurement of sanctions and of repeat offending, and the absence of statistical power analyses) limit the ability of these studies to provide a strong base of research that enables testing theory or evaluating public policy. Secondary analyses of the data available from these studies determined that the use of more consistent methods and measures across 12 sites generates the same general conclusion, i.e., that criminal sanctions are not significantly associated with less repeat offending. 7 tables, 3 figures, and extensive references

Date Published: September 1, 2010