But Would She Do It Again? Battered Women's Intentions to Re-Use the Criminal Legal System

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

ABSTRACT
An increasing amount of research examines recidivism among perpetrators of domestic violence as well as what can be done to prevent recidivism. however, little research has examined how battered women make decisions around re-using the criminal legal system. The current research examined battered women's intentions to re-use the criminal legal system in the eveny of future violence against them. Indepth interviews were condeucted with women with abusive partners and ex-partners from three different jurisdictions in the United States. They were asked about the violence against them, their relationships with their assailants, their experiences with the police and courts, and their intentions to re-use the police and courts in response to any future violence against them. Findings suggest that the severity of the violence agains tthem, their economic dependence on their assailants, and the supportiveness of the police and courts all contributed to women's intentions to re-use the criminal legal system should their assailants commit another crime against them. In addition, implications for improving the legal system response to these cases will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006