Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 5. Law Enforcement Responses

Section 2 — Do they influence prosecutions and convictions of abuse suspects?

Specialized domestic violence units, emphasizing repeat victim contact and evidence gathering, have been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of prosecution, conviction and sentencing. [130] Specialized domestic violence units are generally associated with more extensive inquiries by police department call takers — asking if weapons are involved, advising callers to stay on the line until police arrive, asking if children are present, whether the suspect uses drugs/alcohol, whether restraining orders are in effect, and whether the suspect is on probation or parole. [213] Domestic violence units are also more likely to amass evidence to turn over to prosecutors. The specialized unit in Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, N.C., collected evidence in 61.8 percent of its cases, compared to only 12.5 percent of cases collected by patrol officers. In addition, whereas 30 percent of victims handled by regular patrols declined to prosecute, only 8 percent of victims handled by the specialized unit declined to prosecute. [68]

Date Created: June 5, 2009