Process and Outcome Evaluation of a Rural Domestic Violence Court

Angela Gover, University of South Carolina
John M. MacDonald, University of South Carolina
Geoffrey Alpert, University of South Carolina

ABSTRACT
In the past decade there has been a growing awareness that domestic violence is a serious social problem. One of the responses to this social problem has been the creation of domestic violence courts. Through funding provided by the National Institute of Justice, the current study examines the effectiveness of a localized domestic violence court in a rural county located in South Carolina. Results from a series of qualitative interviews and courtroom observations are presented. Recidivism rates between defendants tried in the local domestic violence court and those in a historical control group are examined, controlling for both legal and extralegal factors. Time series and geographic analyses of the patterns in domestic violence before and after the implementation of the court are presented. The results from this study help increase the knowledge on the effectiveness of the domestic violence court option and the factors associated with recidivism among prosecuted batterers. The findings from this research also help increase the understanding of the role that localized domestic violence courts situated in rural settings can have in enhancing victim safety.

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Updated 05/20/2006