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Victim Satisfaction With Criminal Justice Case Processing in a Model Court Setting

NCJ Number
Date Published
45 pages
Publication Series
This study analyzed victim satisfaction in a model court following a domestic violence incident.
More specifically, the study examined how victim satisfaction with criminal justice intervention in a domestic violence case was related to five variables: (1) demographic characteristics of the victim; (2) specifics of the case; (3) history of offending and victimization; (4) outcomes of the criminal justice system response; and (5) differences between victim preferences and criminal justice action. The rationale of the study centered on the view of public agencies as working in the “public interest.” Prior studies of victim response to criminal justice intervention has shown that female victims of intimate partner assault were less satisfied with the criminal justice system in general than were victims of non-partner assault. The authors examined the criminal justice files of 353 cases of male-to-female domestic violence, including the offender’s criminal history, data concerning civil restraining orders, prosecutor’s data on each case, data from batterer treatment programs, police incident reports, and a victim survey. The goal of the victim survey was to gain the victim’s perspective of her experience with the criminal justice system, to gain details about the domestic violence, and to gain knowledge about any re-offending behavior by the defendant. Results revealed that five main variables impacted victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system: (1) the seriousness of the target incident; (2) the dangerousness of the offender; (3) the victim’s sense of control over the processing of the case; (4) the victim’s experience of past violence; and (5) the extent to which victim preferences were being followed by the criminal justice system. The key to satisfaction with the criminal justice system as a whole was whether the victim had a sense of empowerment or control over the case proceedings. Dissatisfied victims tended to have highly dangerous batterers with whom they still resided. The authors suggest that while not all victims should be allowed to control the course of cases involving domestic violence, the results suggest that victims of violence would feel more satisfied with the criminal justice system if they were able to voice their concerns and preferences. References, tables

Date Published: January 1, 2003