This project used a randomized control design in evaluating an innovative outreach program for racially and ethnically diverse victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) whose cases involved contact with the criminal justice system.
The study found that victim-focused outreach decreased women's reluctance to work with prosecutors and increased their likelihood of participating in the prosecution of their abusers. In addition, findings indicated that outreach was particularly important for IPV survivors marginalized by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and those survivors still living with their abusers. Further, compared to IPV survivors who did not receive outreach services, women who received outreach reported decreased severity of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and fear 1 year after the abuse. Although there were no effects of outreach on revictimization or social support levels, women randomly assigned to outreach services reported greater readiness to leave the abuser compared to women who did not receive outreach services. The outreach program was coordinated by an interdisciplinary victim service team, which identified a specific community-based agency to initiate phone outreach to each victim based on the victim's unique needs. This offered the women a confidential means of learning about and accessing support and service from an agency that could provide relevant services without requiring the women to initiate a search for appropriate agencies. For the referral condition, a criminal justice system-based advocate from the prosecuting attorney's office or police department contacted women IPV survivors to make referrals to community-based agency with which women could make contact if they chose to do so. The evaluation used an independent research team to assess multiple outcome measures as soon as possible after the abuse and then 6 and 12 months later. Participants were a diverse group of 236 women with a police-reported IPV call. 28 figures, 46 tables, and 83 references
Date Published: March 1, 2011
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