National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 252 Dated: July 2005 Pages: 33-34
This article summarizes the final report of a NIJ-funded study of the factors that have contributed to the decline of intimate partner homicide rates since 1976.
The study covered the 13 years from 1987 to 2000 and included 58 California counties. In order to better understand any variations in intimate partner homicide based on ethnicity, gender, place, race, and time, the researchers examined these characteristics in county records of domestic-violence arrests, convictions, and incarceration. Victim services were measured by the rate of federally funded shelters found in each county per 100,000 women, by race. Shelters were found to be linked to declines in Hispanic female victimization but not in African-American or White female victimization. Researchers hypothesized that White urban females would use resources other than shelters to protect themselves from domestic violence. African-American women, on the other hand, might use shelters, but shelter protection might not be sufficient in their high-risk circumstances. The increase in shelter resources, however, was associated with a decline in homicides by African-American female domestic-violence victims against their male abusers, suggesting that shelters provided an alternative to homicide as a last resort for escaping intolerable abuse. Researchers did not find a statistically significant relationship between any criminal justice system response and victimization for either gender or any racial or ethnic group, suggesting that increased resource allocation for shelters should have higher priority than more resources for criminal justice system responses to domestic violence.
Date Published: July 1, 2005