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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 219868 Find in a Library
Title: Family-Based Justice in the Sentencing of Domestic Violence
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:4  Dated:July 2007  Pages:655-670
Author(s): Ronit Dinovitzer; Myrna Dawson
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examined the role of the family in the sentencing of offenders in a specialized domestic violence court in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).
Abstract: The study found that offenders who remained in relationships with their victims were more likely to receive a custodial sentence, yet receive shorter jail sentences. This suggests that the courts may be managing the circumstances of intimate relationships by using jail time as a "cooling-off period." When offenders are in relationships with their victims and causing serious injury to their partners, they are most likely to be physically removed from the home, as they received a jail sentence more often than unmarried offenders. Yet, when offenders were in intimate relationships, independent of the degree of injury suffered by the victim, they were more quickly returned to the home by being sentenced to jail for shorter periods. Those men who were employed were also more quickly returned to the home might reflect the court's desire to maintain family stability by ensuring men's continued economic contribution to the family. This suggests that domestic violence courts are tailoring sentencing to family circumstances in an effort to both protect the future safety of domestic violence victims while avoiding significant socioeconomic harm to families by long-term removal from the home of a significant family member. Study data were obtained from prosecutors' files for domestic violence cases processed by a specialized domestic violence court in Toronto. For those cases in which defendants were convicted, the study examined the type of disposition. Key independent variables were the offender's parental status and the relationship between the defendant/victim. Control variables pertained to the severity of the victim's injury, the most serious charge, the defendant's use of a weapon in the offense, defendant characteristics, the defendant's plea, and victim cooperation. 3 tables and 64 references
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Canada; Domestic assault; Domestic assault prevention; Foreign courts; Sentencing factors; Sentencing/Sanctions
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