Characteristics of Completes vs. Non-Completes of a Mandatory Domestic Violence Program

Christopher Hebert, San Jose State University
Yoko Baba, San Jose State University

In this paper we compare characteristics of completes vs. non-completes of convicted domestic violence offenders in a legislatively mandated 52-week domestic violence program located in Santa Clara County, CA. Fifty-four participants, half completers and half non-completers are compared, using Cox regression and other hazard models, on a variety of demographic characteristics (age, ethnicity, employment, education), domestic characteristics (married vs. cohabitation, presence of children), and individual characteristics (self-reported alcohol, marijuana, and "hard" drug use, responses to a attitudinal inventory administered upon entry into the program). Self reported "hard" drug use was the single strongest predictor of program failure, with seven of eight participants failing to complete the program. Having less than a high school education and being unemployed at the time of the domestic violence incident independently increased the risk of program failure. Only small and non-significant differences in risk of dropping out were found between white, Hispanics and white, non-Hispanics whether or not controls for education and employment were included in the models. None of the other variables investigated had a significant effect on program participation. The authors suggest that program retention could be improved if an alternative to the "offender-pays" model is implemented.

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Updated 05/20/2006