No-contact orders, victim safety, and offender recidivism in cases of misdemeanor criminal domestic violence: A randomized experiment
Using an experimental design, this research examined the impact of proactive enforcement of court-imposed no-contact orders (NCOs) on offender behavior and victim safety in cases of misdemeanor domestic violence. The major research goals and objectives were to assess whether proactive enforcement: (1) enhanced victim safety by reducing offender recidivism; (2) increased victim knowledge about no-contact orders; and (3) reduced contact between offenders and victims. A prospective design was used to randomly assign 466 cases of misdemeanor criminal domestic violence to either systematic, proactive enforcement or to routine, reactive enforcement of the court-ordered no-contact order conditions. Treatment effectiveness was assessed by analyses of official criminal records data and victim survey data. Study results suggest that the treatment had no impact on victim safety or offender recidivism. Notably, victims in the treatment group were more likely to be aware that the no-contact order was in place, had higher level of contact with law enforcement and victim advocates, and more often viewed the contact with their batterer as stalking or harassment. Overall, findings from this study suggest important directions for future research examining the effectiveness of interventions for intimate partner violence and abuse.