Abstract: "That Was a Year Ago": Understanding the Causes and Implications of Time Delays in Providing Treatment for Domestic Violence Crimes (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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436P "That Was a Year Ago": Understanding the Causes and Implications of Time Delays in Providing Treatment for Domestic Violence Crimes

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Krushika Patankar, MSW, PhD Student, New York University, New York, NY
Briana Barocas, PhD, Director of Research/Research Assistant Professor, New York University, New York, NY
Layla Al Neyadi, MPH, PhD Student, MPH Student, New York University, New York, NY
Sejung Yang, MSW, Ph.D. Candidate, New York University, New York, NY
Hila Avieli, Phd, Lecturer, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Rei Shimizu, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK
Yangjin Park, MSW, Ph.D. Candidate, New York University, New York, NY
Background and Purpose: Court-mandated treatment is geared towards reducing recidivism and shifting social responses towards behavioral problems subject to criminalization. Varying court-mandated treatment programs show moderate success; mixed results exist for mandated domestic violence (DV) treatment programs’ effectiveness, traditionally called Batterer Intervention Programs (BIP). Hence, restorative justice (RJ) approaches like the Circles of Peace (CP) model are favored in conjunction with changes to state standards for DV treatment. Considering the significance of DV risks and importance of reducing recidivism, timely treatment is important to avoiding adverse future consequences. Yet, many court-mandated treatments are affected by time delays, i.e., time to treatment receipt from time of plea deal. The design of court-mandated treatment (open vs. closed/responsible person-only groups vs. conjoint) can also affect time to treatment receipt. Furthermore, court-mandated treatments do not practice immediate treatment response at time of DV incidence. Hence, we highlight perspectives of varying stakeholders involved in piloting a CP program through court-mandated treatment in a new jurisdiction.

Methods: Qualitative data was collected through 15 semi-structured interviews and 2 focus groups (audio recorded and transcribed) to capture the experience of implementing/facilitating/participating in CP. The sample included varying stakeholders— members of the state’s attorney’s office, probation/parole officers, CP providers, victim advocates, and offenders that received treatment. Using thematic analysis, five researchers independently coded the data across different stakeholder groups and met in pairs to reconcile differences.

Results: The following themes emerged: (1) Causes for delays and disconnections (“The offender wanted to take the deal, couldn’t because we didn’t have one drafted, he didn’t qualify for an attorney...there’s a lot of confusion about whether or not he’s represented.. .so, certain things can create delay”) (2) Victim safety and engagement shortcomings (“When I think about how we engage with victims, I think we do not [do] a very good job”), (3) Procedural Details (“There are a myriad number of [things we look to procedurally]...seriousness of offense, victim participation...history of domestic violence, victim feedback, number of lethality risks”) and (4) Structural/Contextual problems in CP Participation (“Participation can have enormous benefit but...most of the people we're dealing with are transportation insecure, housing insecure, employment insecure and they're being asked to travel a not insignificant distance to the [treatment] center”).

Conclusions and Implications: Court mandated treatment programs should shift to understanding time as beyond a seemingly administrative problem. All stakeholders involved in implementing/facilitating CP speculate CP’s true effectiveness; they emphasize that time to treatment delays possibly produce lower effectiveness. Some posit improvement of time to treatment may engage victim participation; others discuss balancing internal staffing issues, policy adherence, and prioritizing safety prior to CP assignment as paramount. Discussion of time in determining acceptability of CP based on DV offense level is also present among stakeholders. Structural issues like transport to CP treatment are observed as an important factor affecting CP uptake. Implications of time delays on the effectiveness of DV treatment programs require acute attention with specific pertinence to RJ based practices.