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Study: Domestic Violence Offenders More Likely to Be Convicted


Though going through a divorce can be a tiring and difficult procedure, many people realize that divorce proceedings are a necessary measure to restore harmony to their lives. In situations involving domestic violence, for example, divorce may be essential for separating the victim(s) from the abuser.

Once upon a time, domestic violence cases were not taken seriously by law enforcement officials or the general public. But since the feminist movement brought women's issues to the forefront of the social consciousness, domestic violence has been viewed in a different light.

A recent study conducted by the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs revealed some surprising statistics about domestic violence offenders in the United States.

According to the DOJ press release, the study investigated court cases from 15 large urban counties across the country. Its goal was to determine how domestic violence cases are handled in the United States justice system. It focused on the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of several offenders.

The researchers divided offenders into four categories: non-domestic violence sexual assault defendants, domestic violence sexual assault defendants, non-domestic violence aggravated assault defendants and domestic violence aggravated assault defendants.

All crimes studied involved felony charges, and followed the cases from their original court dates until their natural conclusions. The researchers define domestic violence as any violence between people living together - spouses, domestic partners, family members or roommates.

The results of the study showed higher conviction rates for defendants whose crimes involved domestic violence across the board. Specifically, the study showed:

  • 98% of sex offenders involved in domestic violence were convicted, compared to only 87% of sex offenders not involved in domestic violence (DV).
  • DV sex offenders were more likely to be convicted of felony charges (80%) than non-DV sex offenders (63%).
  • The average prison sentence given to DV sex offenders (six years) was longer than the average given to non-DV sex offenders (just over three years).
  • 15% of DV offenders got sentences longer than 10 years; none of the non-DV offenders got such a long sentence.
  • In aggravated assault cases, 87% of DV offenders were convicted, versus 78% of non-DV offenders.
  • More DV aggravated assault offenders were convicted of both felonies (61% vs. 52%) and misdemeanors (22% vs. 16%) than non-DV offenders.

Besides the higher conviction rates for domestic violence offenders, the study found that DV defendants were less likely to be granted pretrial release from a court than defendants with no domestic violence charges.

This study shows that the American justice system takes domestic violence cases seriously. If you are a victim of domestic violence, do not hesitate to report it. There is no excuse for violence in the home and you deserve a chance to have your voice heard.

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