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Publication Profile of Intimate Partner Violence Cases in Large Urban Counties

Donald J Farole, Jr. Ph.D., Erica L. Smith

October 21, 2009    NCJ 228193

Examines the characteristics and processing of 3,750 cases of intimate partner violence, filed in the state courts of 16 large urban counties in May 2002. Topics covered include the types of charges filed against defendants, incident-specific information such as victim injury, defendant weapon use, evidence obtained, adjudication outcomes, and sentences imposed on convicted defendants. The report also examines the impact of various case characteristics on the likelihood of conviction. See also State Court Processing of Domestic Violence Cases.


  • Most cases of intimate partner violence involved a charge of assault, either aggravated (12%) or simple (78%); an additional 5% were charged with intimidation, including stalking.
  • A witness to the incident was present in 50% of intimate partner violence cases; half of those witnesses were children.
  • The defendant was convicted in 56% of intimate partner violence cases. A third (33%) of cases were discontinued by the prosecution or dismissed by the court; less than 1% ended in acquittal by a judge or jury. Another 9% of defendants were in pretrial diversion or deferred adjudication status one year after their initial appearance in court.

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