Associate Magazine-Jan/Mar 2021
Continued from "Trapped", on page 34
CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESPONSE AND CONCLUSION This article explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has exac- erbated the entrapment of DV victims wherein they are trapped with their abusers at home with limited access to criminal justice (or community-level services) rescue or assistance (Humphreys, Thwin Myint, & Zeanah, 2020; Usher, Durkin, & Bhullar, 2020). Research trends specific to the high risk of recidivism among felony DV offenders and the stability of severe violence among reoffenders, may underline the importance of police emphasiz- ing consideration of perpetrator DV arrest history when respond- ing to DV calls and making arrest decisions, as well as high-level community DV victim services coordination and regular follow- up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research indicates that arrest alone has a small average effect on recidivism (Maxwell, Garner, & Fagan, 2002; Sherman & Harris, 2015). However, some studies find that when police arrest accused offenders and conduct DV follow-up home visits to meet with victims, recidivism declines (Davis & Maxwell, 2003; Stover, Berkman, Desai, & Marans, 2010). Police-social work/DV services (e.g., hotlines, shelters, advo- cates) interventions involving crisis intervention, emergency treatment, and referrals to adult victims have been found to increase victim calls to police for subsequent experiences of violence (Hovell, Said, & Liles, 2006; Stover et al., 2010). Such ser- vices coordination is especially important within the COVID-19 social environment where preliminary evidence suggests that there is an exacerbated risk to victim safety. At the same time, advocating for a more robust CJS re- sponse to DV cases during the pandemic faces the reality that police, community corrections officers, and services providers become overworked and susceptible to infection as they try to do their jobs. Still, research on best practices during times of emergency (Laufs & Waseem, 2020) underscores the importance of inter-agency collaboration and coordinated operations – like what is suggested here between the CJS and DV service provid- ers – to maximize resources and respond to the myriad chal- lenges that exist. In addition, the tragic McCauley case and consequent IDOC policy changes stress the critical importance of community corrections officers working responsively and in effective col- laboration with prosecutors to obtain court approval of no-bail arrest warrants along with parole or probation revocation for both felony violent offenders more generally and DV offenders specifically who commit violations through DV offending during the COVID-19 pandemic; regardless of their level of enforcement discretion authority. Increased victim entrapment within violent relationships during the pandemic emphasizes the necessity of such intensified supervision and enforcement. Such heightened CJS efforts may help to minimize severe, recidivism risk helping to better protect victims from serious injury and potentially lethal harm within a pandemic landscape where such risks are espe- cially elevated and access to preventative services is restricted. References Cajner, T., Crane, L. D., Decker, R. A., Grigsby, J. Hamins-Puertolas, A., Hurst, E., Kurz, C., & Yildirmaz, A. (2020). The U.S. labor market during the beginning of the pandemic recession. NBER Working Paper No. 27159. Campbell, J. C., Webster, D. W., & Glass, N. (2009). The danger assessment: Validation of a lethality risk assessment instrument for intimate partner femicide. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24, 653–674. Campello, M., Kankanhalli, G., & Muthukrishnan, P. (2020). Corporate hiring under COVID-19: Labor market concentration, downskilling, and income inequality. NBER Working Paper Series. Working Paper 27208. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
2009; Myhill & Hohl, 2019). Women in close confines with abusive men cannot as easily leave the home or find a private space/ locked room to call police or other services providers, which may lead to victims enduring the violence and its detrimental physi- cal and emotional health consequences to avoid abuse escala- tion rather than seek help (Kaplan & Wong, 2020). Thus, victims in such circumstances may only seek assistance when the abuse has become monstrous or potentially lethal in nature. Data from Illinois state-funded DV services providers on the number of direct services (e.g., individual and group counseling, legal advocacy/assistance, economic/educational assistance, housing assistance etc.) provided to victims both prior to and during COVID-19 (compiled by the Illinois Criminal Justice Infor- mation Authority [ICJIA, 2020]) lend credence to that argument. As shown in Figure 2, the number of DV victim services contacts dropped 28.83% from January 2020 until April 2020 (ICJIA, 2020), which was the height of vigorous stay-at-home orders and man- dated business closures. Figure 3 demonstrates that between March and April 2020, victim services contacts for criminal legal advocacy and criminal PO services, decreased by 47.79% (ICJIA, 2020). This precipitous decline in services provision in the early stages of the pandemic may indicate that many DV victims were not able to safely seek assistance, which has monumental consequences in the short- and long-term. Figure 3 data also indicate that while there was a sharp decrease in criminal PO service contacts between March and April 2020, there was a fairly quick rebound in services contacts between April and July 2020 – increasing an astounding 159.33% (ICJIA, 2020). This increase is reflective of pre-pandemic levels.
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Figure 2: Adult DV direct victim services provided by Illinois services agencies between October 2019 and September 2020.
Figure 3: Adult victim service contacts for criminal legal advocacy and criminal protec- tion order services provided by Illinois domestic violence services agencies between October 2019 and September 2020.
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