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Coordinating the Criminal Justice Response to Intimate Partner Violence: The Effectiveness of Councils in Producing Systems Change

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
300 pages
This study evaluated the effectiveness of Illinois' statewide network of Family Violence Coordinating Councils (FVCCs) across 22 judicial circuits, which were established in order to achieve an institutionalized uniform coordination of best practices in responding to intimate partner violence (IPV).
The evaluation found that the councils consist of broad memberships that represent relevant stakeholder groups. This promotes a cooperative climate that encourages multidisciplinary input and leadership. Consistent with previous research, councils apparently facilitate stronger relationships and enhanced knowledge among stakeholders, and some were well positioned to facilitate and lead institutionalized change in the system's response to IPV. Councils provided local and regional training that reached 33,000 participants between 2000 and 2006. During this period, councils also produced numerous products, including approximately 275 pamphlets, protocols, and intervention checklists, so as to improve the local response to IPV. This resulted in approximately 20 instances of local policy shifts regarding responses to IPV. The evaluation also found that the existence of councils was positively related to the rate with which emergency protection orders became plenary orders (i.e. "return rates"). In addition, council-member agencies are more likely to exchange information and referrals with other member agencies compared to nonmember agencies. The evaluation also found, however, that councils were not uniformly effective in producing institutionalized change. Multiple factors and processes affected councils' success in this regard, including enhanced knowledge and relationships, features of the council itself, support from the broader community, knowledgeable and skilled local leadership, and council members who were capable of achieving change in their respective organizations. The evaluation methodology involved interviews with council members and key informant interviews, interviews and focus groups with IPV survivors, observations of council meetings, surveys of council members across all involved jurisdictions, and reviews and analysis of relevant reports and data. Chapter tables and figures, 81 references, and 6 appendixes that include evaluation instruments

Date Published: October 1, 2009