skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201445 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Justice System Responses to Domestic Violence: Law Enforcement and the Courts (From Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, P 303-327, 2001, Claire M. Renzetti, Jeffrey L. Edleson, and Raquel K. Bergen, eds. -- See NCJ-201429)
Author(s): LeeAnn Iovanni; Susan L. Miller
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter describes and analyzes the legal response to domestic violence by the criminal justice actors at each point in case processing, with the focus on the work of police officers, prosecutors, judges, and probation officers.
Abstract: In an effort to counteract the tradition of police non-intervention in domestic violence incidents, which have been viewed historically as a private family matter, mandatory and presumptive arrest policies for domestic violence have been implemented. This policy has not been without problems. The determination of probable cause for an arrest requires police discretion, and many police are reluctant to base an arrest solely on an alleged victim's claim of assault absent corroborative evidence. Also, there is evidence that women are increasingly arrested, either as part of a dual arrest or as the sole arrestee. There is also evidence that arrest may actually increase the occurrence of future offending. Changes in the police response to domestic violence in the past two decades have served as a catalyst for changes in prosecutorial policies. Currently, prosecutors attempt to have a more active role in prosecuting domestic violence cases. No-drop prosecution policies combined with presumptive arrest or mandatory arrest policies have caused domestic violence cases to flood the system; this has produced tremendous increases in prosecutorial caseloads. Judges have increased the granting of civil restraining orders, and some jurisdictions have created separate courts that deal exclusively with domestic violence cases. Probation is most commonly used to force offender participation in treatment programs. Typically, a sentence of incarceration will be imposed but then suspended if the offender successfully completes other conditions. Probation officers can play a major role in reinforcing the message that battering is a serious criminal offense. This chapter examines the positive and negative aspects of these current policies in terms of how well they are actually implemented, the effect they have on the recidivism of domestic violence perpetrators, and how well they address the needs and preferences of victims. Findings from relevant research are discussed. The authors note that although serious intervention in domestic violence is now a widely accepted goal in the system, the practices and attitudes of criminal justice actors have not always kept pace with legislative and policy changes and mandates. 88 references
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Case processing; Domestic assault; Domestic assault arrest policies; Judges; Police domestic violence training; Probation conditions; Probation management; Prosecution; Victims of violent crime
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.