Engaging with criminal prosecution: the victim's perspective

Author(s) Dichter, Melisa E., Catherine Cerulli, Catherine L. Kothari, Frances K. Barg and Karin V. Rhodes
Title Engaging with criminal prosecution: the victim's perspective
Source Women & Criminal Justice, 2011, Vol. 21, pp21-37
Date 2011
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This study examines the barriers and motivators that influence women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) to engage with the criminal justice system, and their preferences regarding prosecution. For the study focus groups were conducted in a mid-western county with 15 women who had had police respond to an incident of IPV but with various experiences of soliciting police intervention and proceeding with prosecution. The women identified a number of motivators for engaging with the criminal justice system, including reaching a breaking point, concern for their children and support from family and friends. Barriers to engaging in prosecution were also discussed, such as the fear of retaliation; the love and dependence on their partner and concern about keeping the family together and children with their fathers. The authors discuss the implications of their study, particularly for prosecutors who need the victim to remain involved in the process to achieve prosecution. It is suggested that prosecutors assess barriers and develop ways to overcome or minimise them, as well as improving outreach to victims. Protection for victims and emotional and practical support are also identified as important needs of women who have experienced IPV and are attempting to engage with the criminal justice system.
Keywords Intimate partner violence; IPV; prosecution; victim participation; criminal justice system
Topic Domestic violence