Based on private interviews with persons present at the scene when police arrived at 62 reported domestic assaults in Memphis, TN, (72 victims, 42 assailants, and 75 adult family members), this 1995 study obtained information on the following factors: alcohol and drug use, previous assaults, weapons and injuries, and arrests and court actions after the incident.
This report features a discussion of the assailants' drug and alcohol use during the day of the assault. Victims and family members reported that 92 percent of assailants used drugs or alcohol during the day of the assault. They also reported that 67 percent of the assailants had used a combination of cocaine and alcohol, which produces heightened and prolonged intoxication. Nearly half of all assailants were described by family members as using drugs, alcohol, or both daily to the point of intoxication for the past month. Nine percent of assailants were either under treatment or had previous received treatment for substance abuse. Victims or family members also reported that approximately 42 percent of victims used alcohol or drugs on the day of the assault; 15 percent had used cocaine. Other study findings indicated that the vast majority of those assaulted were repeat victims of the current assailants. Two-thirds of assailants were on probation or parole at the time of the assault. In addition, a majority of assaults involved the assailant's use or display of a weapon; a number of victims suffered injuries that required immediate medical attention. As a result of this study, the Memphis medical and criminal justice communities are cooperating to increase the penalties for assault in cases where alcohol, drugs, or weapons are used or children are present. A small crisis center has been established within the police department in order to provide immediate medical care. A listing of NIJ's Criminal Justice Videotape Series on Research in Progress Seminars
Date Published: October 1, 1997