207740 Does victim participation in intimate partner violence prosecution improve safety?

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:30 PM

Karin Rhodes, MD, MS , Department of Emergency medicine School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Catherine Cerulli, JD, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Catherine L. Kothari, MA , Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, Michigan State University, Kalamazoo, MI
Melissa E. Dichter, PhD , Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA
Tae Kim , School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Steven C. Marcus, PhD , University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Criminal Justice (CJ) interventions for intimate partner violence (IPV) have yet to find evidence for effectiveness. We hypothesized that victim participation in the CJ system would enhance her future safety and health. Methods: We analyzed 4 years of longitudinal integrated CJ and emergency department (ED) data in one semi-rural Midwestern county to assess the incident rates of future IPV events both in the pre-disposition period and one year following case disposition. We assessed the impact of victim participation (measured as engagement with police and prosecutors and wishes for prosecution) on subsequent IPV-related police incidents and ED visits for injuries and/or mental health or substance abuse crises, controlling for past year police-reported IPV, ED utilization, and demographic and case characteristics. Results: In 2000, 990 women were victims of an index IPV non-fatal assault and 611 (62%) were categorized as participating in prosecution: 270 (28%) requested that charges dropped, and 99 (10%) had no documented preference. Preliminary results indicate that a woman's preferences for prosecution were positively associated with future IPV events in the pre-disposition period but not in the post-disposition period (HR=1.5 vs. HR=0.9). Contact with the prosecutor's office was associated with a decrease in future IPV events by 90% (HR=0.1, p<.001) in the pre-disposition period. Findings were analyzed separately for CJ and ED events. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, regardless of whether or not the case proceeded to prosecution, abused women's contact with prosecutors provides legal leverage and is associated with a decrease in future IPV-related events.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the health and safety outcomes for police-identified women victims of intimate partner assault by levels of participation in criminal justice prosecution; and 2. Discuss the policy implications of the findings and ways of empowering abused women as they interface with criminal justice and health care systems.

Keywords: Women's Health, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal Investigator on the project from which this presentation is derived; Director of Division of Emergency Care Policy Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, and School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.