Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI)

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Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative in High Point, NC:
Application of the Focused Deterrence Strategy to Combat Domestic Violence
John Weil, Stacy Sechrist, Ph.D., Chief Marty Sumner, Major Larry Casterline, Captain Tim Ellenberger
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
High Point Police Department
OVERVIEW OF STRATEGY
Figure 1.
Total Numbers of Notified Offenders
Across Lists & Percentages of
Reoffenders
800
700
600
Total # of Offenders
The High Point Police Department in partnership
with the High Point Community Against Violence,
Guilford County District Attorney’s Office, Family
Service of the Piedmont, and the Center for Youth,
Family, and Community Partnerships at the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro have
implemented a focused deterrence strategy to
combat domestic violence. The initiative known as,
Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative
(OFDVI) has been in effect 1 year resulting in reoffense rates of only 5-8% across 673 offenders.
The low recidivism rates for domestic violence
offenders are staggering given the recidivism rates
for domestic violence offenders presented in the
literature, which ranges from 20-34% (Hendricks et
al., 2006; McCormick et al., 2011; Ventura & Davis,
2001; Williams & Houghton, 2004) with the majority
occurring within six months of their initial assault.
STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION
OUTCOMES
500
400
673
300
469
200
100
5.9%
166
7.8%
5.1%
0
Notified
Reoffended
Total
(across B, C, & D lists)
Notified
Reoffended
D list
Notified
Reoffended
C list
7.9%
38
Notified
Reoffended
In the OFDVI process, offenders are categorized
based on their domestic violence offense history. They
are then notified that their behavior will no longer be
tolerated and what the specific sanctions will be for
those who reoffend after notification. Notification
methods vary based on offender’s history (see Figure
2). Offenders are informed that they are flagged in the
Police Department’s records management system so
future acts of domestic violence can be tracked. They
are no longer anonymous. Any re-offense will be
responded to with swift and certain responses from
law enforcement. Victims of all notified offenders are
also given the message that their offender has been
notified and they are offered support services if they
so choose.
B list
Additional Outcomes:
The OFDVI strategy represents for the first time
anywhere, the application of the evidence-based
focused deterrence approach to the problem of
domestic violence and a shift to an offender focus
in combatting domestic violence. With focused
deterrence, law enforcement and resource efforts
are focused toward offenders known to be
committing acts of violence. High level domestic
violence offenders (B-list) are confronted by a
community message that the violence is wrong,
a law enforcement message of swift and certain
sanctions should they re-offend, and resource
message that help is available should they
choose. By focusing on the offender, the OFDVI
strategy attempts to avoid re-victimization of
victims by alleviating systematic barriers in the
judicial process. In addition, the OFDVI strategy
capitalizes on law enforcement contacts with low
level (D-list) and first time domestic violence (Clist) offenders to deter future acts.
• Higher bonds for notified offenders who re-offend
• Lengthier and stiffer sentences for offenders convicted of domestic violence
• Changes in process/filling gaps within the criminal justice system in dealing with domestic
violence
Figure 2. Criteria & Notification Methods for Offender Types based on Offense History
To enact change in the criminal justice system’s
response to domestic violence, there needed to be
changes in the attitudes and behaviors of key players
in the system, specifically the courts and law
enforcement personnel who deal with the perpetrator.
The OFDVI strategy is built upon a partnership
designed to enact change at all levels of the system
through constant monitoring of the system, ongoing
feedback from parties involved in the system, and a
willingness of system players to be open to criticism
and be willing to change or affect change in others.
The strategy’s ability to focus on offenders by
targeting them at earlier stages of offending, before
the secrecy of offending entrenches and the violence
escalates, is a unique and important facet.
Poster presented at the 2013 Innovations in Domestic and Sexual Violence Research and Practice Conference, Greensboro, NC. Address correspondence to John Weil, Center for Youth, Family,
and Community Partnerships at UNC-Greensboro, 330 S. Greene Street, Suite 200, Greensboro, NC 27401, [email protected], 336-217-9760
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