Counseling and advocacy services for intimate abuse victims: A study of recidivism in a mandatory prosecution jurisdiction


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This quasi-experimental design tested a counseling/advocacy intervention within the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to determine if domestic violence survivors receiving counseling throughout their criminal cases, and following adjudication, would report less physical/psychological abuse, higher self-esteem/empowerment, and stronger predispositions towards prosecution than those receiving prosecution only. Domestic violence survivors (N=143) with pending misdemeanor cases against their batterers completed questionnaires/surveys five times over one year. Major findings: Prosecutors’ office-based counseling had significant impact on neither reductions in levels of abuse, nor increases in empowerment and self-esteem over time, when compared with prosecution alone. Living with the batterer emerged as the strongest predictor of increased Psychological Abuse. Pro-prosecution attitude was the strongest predictor of decreased Physical Abuse. Surviviors disnclined towards strenuous prosecution were more likely to be living with their batterers than survivors holding pro-prosecution attitudes. Study suggests that Prosecutor-based counseling may not be as effective as expected in reducing domestic violence recidivism.

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