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Juvenile Domestic and Family Violence: The Effects of Court-Based Intervention Programs on Recidivism

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2006
140 pages
Findings are presented from a federally sponsored study which tested the effectiveness of two court-based intervention programs in California (Santa Clara County and San Francisco County) that addressed juvenile domestic and family violence.
The results of this evaluative study showed that the interventions were most beneficial for younger and first-time offenders. However, it is important to initiate programs with age appropriate services and graduated sanctions. Highlights of the findings include: (1) the specialized intervention programs in both counties had a deterrent effect on first-time offenders; (2) recidivism rates for offenders with prior records were remarkably consistent across sites; and (3) the greatest determinant of the probability of recidivism was background characteristics of the offender. In California, the Santa Clara County Superior Court (1999) and the San Francisco Superior Court (2001) created unique approaches to address both juvenile domestic and family violence. Both the Santa Clara County and the San Francisco County specialized juvenile domestic and family violence courts have proven to be innovative programs addressing a serious social issue. It has been demonstrated that many of the offenders assigned to these courts come from families with a history of parental domestic violence, child abuse, criminal behaviors, and substance abuse. These court-based programs have some similar features: (1) an intake process which includes assessment for domestic and family violence; (2) specialized prosecution and defense; (3) dedicated docket; (4) intensive supervision; (5) offender programs, and (6) victim services. What distinguishes the two programs from each other are operational differences, such as the use of formal probation and a law enforcement protocol. In 2003, the National Center for State Courts, along with the American Probation and Parole Association received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice to study the effectiveness of Santa Clara County and San Francisco County's court-based intervention programs. The methodology utilized involved two separate phases: contextual analysis and program evaluation. In addition, juvenile and adult recidivism information was collected which included 304 closed cases. References and attachments A-C

Date Published: July 1, 2006