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Caught in the net of zero-tolerance, the effect of the criminal justice response to partner violence

by Wood, Linda Patricia

Abstract (Summary)
The impetus for the present study stems fcom the competing interpretations that have emerged over the effect of the criminaijustice response to partner violence in the form of a 'zero-tolerance' policy implernented by the Wipeg Police Servicein July of 1993. Using data coilected kom Police Incident Reports on cases of women and men charged with criminai acts of violence over a five Far period (1991 to 1995), three questions are addressed: Are there differences between pmer and non-partner violence cases in tem of their processictg by the criminal justice system?Are there differences in the processing and sentencing of partner violence cases before and afier the kplementation of the zerotolerance policy? Are there differencesin the processing and sentencingof women and men charged with partner violence? Regarding differences between parmer and non-parmer violence cases, the results show that parmer vioience cases had a signincantly higher incidence of case attrition than non-pmer violence cases. The anaiysis also shows that parmer violence was qualitatively different fiom non-parmer vioIence, particularlywhen the latter group was broken down according to the sm-alreIationsbip between the accused and victim (îîiends or acquaintances and srrangers). Regarding ciifFerences between parmer violence cases before and after the zero-toierance policy, the resuits indicate that while partner violence cases where charges were laid after the zero-tolerance policy had a significantly higher incidenceofamiuon than parmervioIence caseswherechargeswere laid before the policy, there were no sigdïcant qualitativedifferencesbetween parmer violence cases occurring before and afier the impiementiihon of the policy and no ciifferences were Coimd in the sentencing of cases before and after the poticy. Fiiy, regarding gender ciifferences, the redts indicate that contrary to ConflictTactics Scale research, men's and women's partner violence is asymmetrical, that is, women are not "men's eqd in violence. " Together, these findings raise questions about the effectiveness of the zerotolerance policy in respondingto parmerviolence and suggestsome support forthe position that zero-toletance has had a "net widening" effect.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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