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Evaluating the Impact of a Specialized Domestic Violence Police Unit, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2006
66 pages
This report presents findings of a process and outcome evaluation of the Charlotte Police Department's (North Carolina) Domestic Violence Unit (DVU), which was created to reduce the frequency and severity of repeat offenses among the most severe cases of domestic violence.
The process evaluation found that the DVU selected the most severe cases of domestic violence, as intended. The outcome evaluation found that the DVU reduced the number of suspects who reoffended but did not reduce the number of repeat offenses by those who did reoffend compared to the suspects processed by regular patrol units. Among the DVU cases, repeat victims experienced less severe abuse than in prior incidents. The role of the prosecution and courts apparently undermined potential positive effects of the DVU in failing to prosecute or convict a relatively high percentage of DVU suspects. Recommendations are offered for how the DVU can improve its work and collaboration with other criminal justice agencies. The DVU's activities included investigating serious domestic violence cases; interacting with service and treatment agencies to prevent further violence and assist victims; training officers, victims, and community members in how to deal with domestic violence; and acting as a liaison for officers. The process evaluation assessed the criteria used to select the domestic violence cases for DVU intensive intervention and the factors that distinguished how cases were handled. The outcome evaluation tracked case outcomes through police, court, and jail statistics. The outcomes of cases handled by the DVU were compared to the outcomes of cases handled by regular patrol officers. Only cases that involved a single suspect and single victim were included in the analysis. A total of 891 cases were analyzed, with 25 percent of these involving the DVU. Both suspects and victims were traced through official records for previous and subsequent domestic violence incidents. 32 tables and 19 references

Date Published: May 1, 2006