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Impact of Proactive Enforcement of No-Contact Orders on Victim Safety and Repeat Victimization

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2008
173 pages
This study examined whether police proactive enforcement of court-imposed no-contact orders (NCOs) on offenders in misdemeanor domestic violence cases increased victim knowledge about NCOs, reduced contact between offenders and victims, and increased victim safety and sense of well-being.
The study found that the proactive enforcement of NCOs had no significant effects when compared with similar cases that did not involve proactive NCO enforcement. Although there were some reductions in arrests for subsequent domestic violence, these reductions were modest to the point of being statistically insignificant. This report recommends the implementation of a wider array of interventions that use both law enforcement and social-service interventions. The study involved a prospective experiment in which 466 cases of misdemeanor criminal domestic violence were randomly assigned to either systematic, proactive enforcement or to routine, reactive enforcement of the court-ordered non-contact conditions. Law enforcement contacts targeted victims in the treatment group whose abusers had been arrested for domestic violence and then released on bond, with the restriction that the offenders have no contact with their victims. Dedicated officer contacts were divided into two types. Those contacts prior to first appearance were designed to inform victims about NCOs, provide them information on criminal domestic violence and NCOs, instruct them in how to document offender contact, and conduct offender surveillance. These contacts included an initial mail contact and in-person or phone contacts. The second set of attempted contacts by officers occurred after the offender's first appearance. The goal of these contacts was continued risk assessment, visits to check on victims, and offender surveillance. The assessment of the effectiveness of the proactive enforcement involved analyses of official criminal records and victim survey data. 36 tables and 47 references

Date Published: June 1, 2008