Non-Specialization of Criminal Careers among Intimate Partner Violence Offenders

January 1, 2016 | By N. Zoe Hilton & Angela Wyatt Eke

Criminal Justice and Behavior

Many men arrested for intimate partner violence (IPV) commit other types of criminal offenses as well. We examined IPV offenders’ general offending in more detail than previous studies, and tested the ability of criminal career trajectory and an IPV-specific risk assessment (the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment; ODARA) to predict post-index recidivism. We retrieved police reports and criminal records of 93 men shortly after an IPV index assault and again 7.5 years later. Most (71%) had pre-index criminal charges, and most (62%) had postindex criminal recidivism although fewer (24%) committed post-index IPV. Pre-index criminal career (defined as none, non-violent, violent, IPV) did not predict post-index IPV whereas the ODARA predicted post-index IPV, AUC = .67, as well as other offenses with a moderate or large effect size, including stalking (AUC = .78), sexual assault (AUC = .67), and nonviolent offenses (AUC = .74). In line with prior research findings, we conclude that many men arrested for IPV do not specialize in their criminal careers and that risk assessment in these cases should include risk of both IPV and other offenses; furthermore, an existing IPV risk assessment tool, the ODARA, holds promise for assessing general risk of recidivism among IPV offenders.

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