The Domestic Violence Intervention Court Model Evaluation

 

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Release date: 6 March 2012, Embargo: 10.30am

A program designed to improve the response of the criminal justice system to cases involving domestic violence has had mixed success, according to a new report released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The domestic violence intervention court model (DVICM) sought to improve the criminal justice system's response to domestic violence by improving police evidence gathering in relation to domestic violence, improving the efficiency of the court response to matters of domestic violence, providing greater support to victims of domestic violence and improving the management of domestic violence offenders.

An earlier evaluation of the program at Campbelltown, Macquarie Fields, and Wagga Wagga Local Area Commands found positive support from the program from victims of domestic violence. It also found some improvements in the police and court response to cases of domestic violence.

There was no change, however, in the number of suspected offenders who were charged, the proportion of those charged who pleaded guilty or the time taken to finalize domestic violence cases in the courts. Nor was there any increase in the proportion of offenders placed under some form of supervision.

This first evaluation only had a short follow up period (18mths) and this may have hampered efforts to examine the full effect of the program. The primary aim of the current study was to examine whether domestic violence police and court outcomes have changed over a longer follow-up period (54 months).

The results of the current evaluation show that the DVICM increased the proportion of persons of interest charged in Macquarie Fields but not in Campbelltown or Wagga Wagga Local Area Commands.

They also show that the DVICM reduced the time taken to finalize domestic violence matters in Campbelltown and Wagga Wagga Local Courts.

However the program did not affect the proportion of matters finalized on a plea of guilty; the proportion of matters finalized on a dismissal; the proportion of offenders imprisoned or placed under supervision.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190