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Violence against women is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Having spent almost six years at DOJ's Office on Violence Against Women, I gained an extraordinary appreciation for how the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has changed the lives of women and their families around the country.
The National Institute of Justice has played a significant role by funding hundreds of research studies on domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and teen dating violence. In addition, NIJ is evaluating programs that aim to reduce violence against women. As we commemorate the 15th anniversary of VAWA, this issue of the NIJ Journal features several studies:
- Research about civil protective orders in urban and rural areas of Kentucky identifies the barriers women face in getting the orders as well as the overall effectiveness the order has on deterring violence.
- A summary of a seminar about men who murder their families and then commit suicide points out that a man's past behavior is the best predictor of his future behavior and that violence tends to escalate, especially when mixed with alcohol and guns.
- Findings from research about stalking is the topic of a guest column by Michelle Garcia, an expert on the topic from the National Center for Victims of Crime.
I would also like to draw your attention to two articles about backlogs of evidence in our nation's law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories. A newly released study documents the problem of evidence (including DNA evidence) being held in police custody. The separate issue of backlogs in crime laboratories is the subject of Mark Nelson's article. He shows that backlogs in crime labs are directly proportional to the incredible increase in demand for DNA analysis. He also includes information about several noted NIJ programs that help labs improve their capacity to analyze DNA.
Finally, I would like to point out an article on an evidence-based program for drug offenders. Rigorous evaluations of the Hawaii HOPE program show that the swift and certain approach to probation has significantly reduced recidivism rates, even among people regarded by probation officers as very high-risk probationers.
Acting Director, National Institute of Justice
About This Article
This article appeared in NIJ Journal Issue 266, June 2010.