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Gender, Victimization, and Victim Services Needs among Community Court Defendants

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This report describes the activities and impact of a Researcher-Practitioner Partnership grant for a project that analyzed the need for victim services among community and problem-solving court defendants.


“Community” courts provide a holistic approach to linking chronic, low-level offenders with an array of treatment and resources intended to address the social problems linked with their offending. The current Research-to-Practice Fellowship Project involved the Mesa Community Court (MCC) in Arizona. The researcher in the grant project observed several days of court hearings, which led to addressing two issues: 1) the victimization rate (both lifetime and in the last year) among MCC defendants; and 2) whether victimization rates differed between men and women defendants. In addressing these Issues, the researcher collected both quantitative and qualitative data. Data covered demographic characteristics, homelessness and housing, the criminal charges, employment, income, current needs, and whether they had experienced any of seven types of victimization.  In both surveys and interviews, MCC defendants described the ways in which past victimization and their current risk of victimization posed barriers in regaining their stability, health, and well-being. Women were significantly more likely than men to have experienced various forms of victimization both in their lifetime and in the last year. This suggests that by addressing victimization and trauma, community and problem-solving courts may be more effective in reducing recidivism. Suggestions are offered for sustaining the research-to-practice fellowship project.

Date Published: January 1, 2019