Domestic Violence: Predictors of Victim Support for Arrest and Prosecution in a Court Sample

Rodney Kingsnorth, California State University - Sacramento
Randall MacIntosh, California State University - Sacramento

Utilizing a sample of 5,272 domestic violence cases processed through the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office between July 1, 1999 and December 31, 2000, this paper analyzes the predictors of victim support for arrest and prosecution. Cohabitation status, victim substance use, suspectinjury, males, and victim of Asian-American descent, are all variables negatively associated with support for the precipitating arrest. Conversely, severity of attach and prior perpetrator violence are positively related to this outcome. Predictors of support for prosecution include severity of attack, prior violence, victim need for medical attention, and victim age (older). Cohabitation status, victim substance use, and victim of African-American descent, all significantly reduced the odds of support for prosecution. Of particular importance from a policy perspective, prosecutor charging behavior significantly influenced victim support for prosecution. Charging a defendant with a misdemeanor or violation of probation (in contrast to a felony) was strongly associated with increased levels of support for prosecution.

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Updated 05/20/2006