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Evaluation of Efforts to Implement No-Drop Policies: Two Central Values in Conflict (From Violence Against Women and Family Violence: Developments in Research, Practice, and Policy, 2004, Bonnie Fisher, ed. -- See NCJ-199701)

NCJ Number
199719
Date Published
Author(s)
Barbara E. Smith, Robert C. Davis
Annotation
This evaluation of a "no-drop" policy for domestic violence cases in four cities with this policy examined the effects of the policy on court outcomes, victim satisfaction with the justice system, and victim feelings of safety.
Abstract
Specific questions addressed in the evaluation were whether the policy increased convictions and lowered the rate of dismissals, whether the rate of trials increased as a result of the policy, whether prosecutors downgraded sentence demands to win the willingness of defense attorneys to negotiate pleas, and the impact of the policy on victims. Researchers collected data on no-drop program implementation through a review of written materials, interviews with local officials, and onsite observations. Telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of victims affected by the no-drop policy. The four sites involved in the evaluation were San Diego, CA; Klamath Falls, OR.; Omaha, NE; and Everett, WA. Evaluation findings are presented for each of these sites. Victim interviews across the four sites indicated that 79 percent of the victims wanted the defendant to be arrested; 70 percent of victims were satisfied with the police, and satisfaction with the prosecutor was slightly less but still substantial. Eighty-three percent of the victims reported that they had seen or heard from the defendant since the disposition of the case; with the exception of verbal abuse, most victims had not been bothered by the defendant. Most victims interviewed reported positive feelings about the no-drop policy; 85 percent eventually viewed the prosecution as helpful. A total of 79 percent of the victims reported they would call the police in the future if they were abused again. The authors advise that these victim findings should be viewed cautiously, since the response rates were low (21 percent and under in the four cities). Implications of these findings are drawn for researchers and for practitioners.
Date Created: December 17, 2008