• Perspectives of battered women regarding the criminal justice system

      Noone, Diana Colombo; Belcher, John R. (2000)
      New laws and policies in the domestic violence arena have been implemented without any input from the women who survived domestic violence. The perspectives of the survivors are not well documented or understood by policymakers and criminal justice personnel. Therefore, a qualitative approach was used to explore the perspectives of the women who survived domestic violence and what initiatives can make the criminal justice system more amenable to their needs. Extensive data were collected through a total of thirty interviews with a total of ten informants over a 9-month period of time. The constant comparative method of data collection and analysis was utilized. Concepts and themes related to the survivors' perspectives of the criminal justice system and what helped them through the ordeal were identified, linked and developed into grounded theory. The use of triangulated data collection methods, interview audits and peer debriefing insured the trustworthiness of the study. The results indicate that participants became involved in the criminal justice system to protect their children from the emotional and physical effects of the abuse. The survivors also indicated they received the necessary support to survive the ordeal from family and/or friends, the courthouse domestic violence advocate, and judges who mandated counseling. However, they did not believe the police provided adequate information and support during the initial arrest. Therefore, they suggested a female advocate would be beneficial on the scene at the time of arrest. Implications of these findings include recommendations for practice, research and policy within the criminal justice community and the social work community. Recommendations for the setting in which the research was conducted include to further explore the findings of the study especially the reported frustration at the lack of support from the police. Also, social work research is suggested to build knowledge and address the problems from the survivors' perspectives.