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Publication State Court Processing of Domestic Violence Cases

Erica L. Smith, Matthew R. Durose, Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

February 8, 2008    NCJ 214993

Examines the processing of domestic violence (DV) and non-domestic violence (non-DV) cases filed in May 2002 in 15 large urban counties. The study compares the domestic and non-domestic offenses of sexual and aggravated assault on 11 prosecution, conviction, and sentencing outcome measures. Data are also presented regarding court issued protection orders, guilty plea versus trial convictions, and the demographic characteristics of domestic violence defendants.


  • A third of violent felony defendants were charged with domestic violence.
  • Prosecuted domestic sexual assault defendants had a higher overall conviction rate (98%) than prosecuted non-domestic sexual assault defendants (87%).
  • Domestic aggravated assault defendants (54%) were less likely to be granted pretrial release than non-domestic aggravated assault defendants (62%).

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