The Second Responders Program: Evaluation of a Coordinated Police/Social Service Approach to Domestic Violence

Rosann Greenspan, University of California - Berkeley
David L. Weisburd, Hebrew University/University of Maryland
Erin Lane, Police Foundation
Sergeant William Booth, Richmond Police Department
Sheila Crossen-Powell, City of Richmond

Police have been encouraged to collaborate in interagency approaches to domestic violence. Typically, such programs introduce a social service or police/social service team some time after the incident for which police were initially called. In Richmond, Virginia, the Second Responders program involves social service workers based in the precincts and on call throughout the night. Second Responders respond to domestic violence calls as soon as the scenes are secured by police. Upon arrival, they offer immediate and future services to the victim. We present final results of an evalualtion of the Second Responders program, supported by the National Institute of Justice. Using a quasi-experimental design, we assess the impacts of the intervention on whether the experimental and control groups reported differences in repeat abuse, follow-through with legal remedies, follow-through with obtaining social services, attitudes toward police, and life-changes made. Data on attitudes and experiences of victims are drawn from interviews with victims in the experimental precincts where the Second Responders program was implemented and in the control precincts where the Second Responders program was not implemented, within days of the incident, and again six months later. Official court data are examined to track the outcomes of cases in the sample.

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Updated 05/20/2006