NC Network for Safe Communities Presentation on High Point’s Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative

We were pleased to be asked to present at the 2nd annual Innovations in Domestic and Sexual Violence Research and Practice Conference: Promising Practices for a Peaceful North Carolina. We were asked to join a panel including Cindy Brady, Director of the Family Justice Center of Alamance County, Sabrina Garcia, domestic violence/sexual assault specialist at Chapel Hill Police Department, and Amily McCool of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The panel was tasked with discussing the latest in research and practice on criminal justice responses to domestic and sexual violence.

We presented a brief overview the High Point Police Department’s Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative which represents for the first time an application of the focused deterrence strategy to combat the problem of domestic violence. Focusing on the offender is a novel shift away from the traditional manner of dealing with domestic violence which has traditionally focused more on the victim. The focused deterrence approach is an evidence-based approach to dealing with criminal behavior. It puts offenders on notice that their behavior will no longer be tolerated, it strips their anonymity thereby making domestic violence no longer a “hidden crime” and it provides certain, swift, and severe consequences for continued domestic violence behavior. By notifying the offender of the new focus on domestic violence and that law enforcement owns the problem of domestic violence, the offender is allowed to make a rational choice as to whether he or she chooses to continue with their violent behavior. The law enforcement message is coupled with a message from the community offering support services if needed.

Thus far, evaluation results are showing that offender behavior is changing. Only 7% of notified offenders have reoffended with a domestic violence offense. Victim injuries are expected to decrease over time as arrests for domestic violence decrease. And, most notably perhaps, is the decrease in domestic-related homicides that High Point has seen since the strategy has been implemented. A full copy of the presentation can be found here: Innovations 2014 Conference Presentation FINAL