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Testing the Effects of New York's Domestic Violence Courts: A Statewide Impact Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2013
89 pages
This study examined the effectiveness of domestic violence courts in New York State.

This study on the impact of domestic violence courts in New York State found that the domestic violence courts did not reduce re-arrest rates for offenders overall, but that for convicted offenders, re-arrest rates on any charge dropped from 49 percent to 46 percent while re-arrest rates on domestic violence charges dropped from 32 percent to 29 percent. In addition, domestic violence courts that focused on deterrence significantly reduced re-arrest rates, compared to courts with less emphasis on deterrence. Other findings from the study include 1) domestic violence courts significantly reduced the average case processing time, from 260 days down to 197 days; domestic violence courts moderately increased the conviction rate compared to regular courts (65 percent compared to 61 percent); domestic violence courts increased the percentage of sentences that involved jail or prison time, compared to regular courts; and domestic violence courts significantly increased the conviction rates for male defendants. These findings suggest that domestic violence courts in New York State have a modest impact on the re-arrest rates for convicted offenders, but their impact on conviction rates and incarceration rates was moderate. Data for the report were obtained by comparing the outcomes of 24 cases processed through the domestic violence courts to 24 cases processed through conventional courts. The purpose of the study was to determine the impact that domestic violence court policies and procedures had on case outcomes and whether this impact was more significant when compared to case outcomes in conventional courts. The domestic violence courts in New York State were selected for the study because the State is home to almost one-third of the country's domestic violence courts. Tables, references, and appendixes

Date Published: February 1, 2013