This paper reports on the impact evaluation of a research demonstration that tested the feasibility and impact of a coordinated response to intimate partner violence (IPV) that involved the courts and justice agencies in a central role.
The program, which was entitled “Judicial Oversight Demonstration” (JOD), produced substantial changes in the response to IPV in all three communities involved in the program. Changes included enhanced collaboration among justice agencies that respond to IPV. JOD initiatives led to increased court specialization, initiation of pretrial monitoring and posttrial compliance reviews, coordination with victim services agencies, dedicated domestic violence probation officers, increased supervision, compliance review preparations for the court, and outreach to victims. These system changes, however, achieved mixed results in terms of outcomes. IPV victims in both the comparison and JOD samples continued to experience considerable repeat violence in the year after disposition. In addition, JOD did not achieve gains in victim participation in the court process or in victim perceptions of personal safety or well-being. Gains in offender accountability were significant, but did not produce substantially lower rates of repeat violence. None of the theories of change that underlie the JOD model were supported. These findings suggest that for reforms to be effective there must be effective protection of victims, close monitoring of offenders, and rapid responses with penalties when violations of court-ordered conditions are detected. The three JOD sites were Dorchester, MA; Milwaukee County, WI; and Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor), MI. Evaluation data were obtained from in-person interviews with victims and offenders conducted 2 months after case disposition or sentencing and again 9 months later; criminal history records from State and local law enforcement records on arrests before and after the sampled case; and data on JOD victims services and probation supervision. 1 figure, 8 tables, and 22 references
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