The Effect of Arrest on Intimate Partner Violence Recidivism

Vivian Lyons | 2016

Advisor: Victoria Holt

Research Area(s): Injury & Violence


Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is experienced by over a third of U.S. women at some point in their lifetimes. As a result of the abuse, survivors of IPV experience a range of poor health outcomes, with long-term and severe abuse more likely to cause multiple comorbidities. Objective: Our study aim was to measure the effect of arrest on reducing IPV recidivism as a secondary prevention strategy. Methods: We used data from a population-based cohort of 5,466 male-female couples in Seattle, WA from 1999-2001 with probable cause of a police-reported, male-perpetrated incident of IPV against their female partners. We estimated the risk of IPV recidivism for the entire 12 month follow-up and for three separate follow-up periods: the first 3 months following the index event, and the periods 4 to 6 months and 7 to 12 months following the index event for physical and psychological IPV separately. Multiple Cox regression analyses were conducted for time-to-first recurrent IPV event and adjusted for index IPV abuse type, cohabitation, weapon use, survivor injury at the index incident and race of both survivor and perpetrator. Results: Arrest was associated with a 29% reduction in physical IPV recurrence in the 12 months following the index incident [adjusted Hazard Ratio (aHR)=0.71, 95% CI: 0.54-0.93]. The other time periods analyzed for physical IPV found point risk estimates consistent with lower rates of IPV associated with arrest, however, they did not achieve statistical significance. Arrest was not associated with risk of psychological IPV events in the 12 months following the index incident [aHR=1.06, 95% CI: 0.85-1.32]. Conclusions: Our study found arrest significantly decreases risk of physical IPV recidivism in the 12 months following arrest.