"Filing Charges": How the Victim-Defendant Social Relationship Affects Crime Victims' Decisions on Criminal Justice Steps

Sara Cornell Hare, Indiana University Southeast

Criminal justice officials report that domestic violence victims do not participate in the prosecution of their offenders, yet few studies have interviewed victims about the prosecution of their case. The Indiana Victim Services Assessment Project interviewed a randomly-selected group of crime victims to understand their crime experiences and service needs. Using these data, I compare domestic violence victims' opinions of filing charges, going to trial, testifying and dropping charges with the opinions of victims who knew the defendant as a relative, friend or acquaintance and victims who did not know the defendant at all. Significant differences are found within groups and between groups.

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Updated 05/20/2006