The Significance of the Victim Advocate for Domestic Violence Victims in Municipal Court


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Abstract

Previous research has examined factors that influence felony case prosecution in domestic violence cases, but few have analyzed how victim participation, or lack thereof, may affect the defendant's case outcome in misdemeanors. This study used 384 municipal cases from a specialized domestic violence court to examine the role of the victim advocate and variables that had an impact on victim participation with prosecution and case disposition. To ensure that decisions in all cases were consistent, all decision makers in the sample involved the same group: the court advocate, prosecutor, and judge. The analysis found that victim cooperation after arrest coupled with services provided by shelter court advocates were a strong predictor of victim cooperation at disposition and case outcome.

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