The Relationship Between Domestic Violence Case Disposition and Women's Long-Term Safety

Ruth E. Fleury, University of Delaware
Joanne Belknap, University of Colorado - Boulder
Cris M. Sullivan, Michigan State University
Deborah Bybee, Michigan State University
Heather C. Melton, University of Utah
Amy Leisenring, University of Colorado - Boulder
Megan S. Stroshine, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Relatively little scholarly work has focused on battered women's experiences with the criminal prosecution of their assailants. However, as jurisdictions take steps to increase the number of criminal prosecutions in woman-battering cases, the impact of different prosecution outcomes (e.g., conviction, dismissal) on women's long-term safety must be examined. Such an examination is necessary to develop policies which will hold assailants accountable and increase women's safety. Women recruited from three different jurisdictions in the United States were interviewed shortly after an intimate partner violence case closed and again one year later. This paper will examine the long-term effects of different prosecution outcomes on subsequent violence. Implications for improving the criminal legal system response to intimate partner violence cases will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006