The impact of victim-focused outreach on criminal legal system outcomes following police-reported intimate partner abuse

Violence Against Women. 2012 Aug;18(8):861-81. doi: 10.1177/1077801212456523. Epub 2012 Aug 15.


Randomized control designs have been used in the public health and psychological literatures to examine the relationship between victim outreach following intimate partner abuse (IPA) and various outcomes. These studies have largely relied on samples drawn from health providers and shelters to examine outcomes outside the criminal legal system. Based on the positive findings from this body of research, we expected that a victim-focused, community-coordinated outreach intervention would improve criminal legal system outcomes. The current study used a randomized, longitudinal design to recruit 236 ethnically diverse women with police-reported IPA to compare treatment-as-usual with an innovative community-coordinated, victim-focused outreach program. Findings indicated that the outreach program was effective in increasing women's engagement with prosecution tasks as well as likelihood of taking part in prosecution of their abusers. Results were particularly robust among women marginalized by ethnicity and class, and those still living with their abusers after the target incident.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Colorado
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Criminal Law*
  • Criminals / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mandatory Reporting
  • Police*
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Sexual Partners
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Women's Health Services*