There’s been a 32% decrease over eight years in domestic violence-related calls to Marin law enforcement!
This trend is not seen anywhere else in California!
Center for Domestic Peace (C4DP) is excited to share highlights from a recent study that tells us why this is happening only in Marin. When we enlisted Dr. Bill Granados, Ph.D., a nationally recognized criminologist, to study whether there was a link between the decline in calls and C4DP’s work with law enforcement, we discovered that Marin’s rate of calls for assistance has declined steadily since 2013. This drop is statistically significant, meaning the decline is likely not due to random variation or chance.
Why the drop?
The decline in calls began with the introduction of the Pocket Card, a simple tool designed by C4DP with the District Attorney and local law enforcement to create a uniform response to domestic violence. The Pocket Card reduced a laborious 55-page manual to a single card officers could tuck into their pocket so a victim would have the same police response regardless of their location.
- Lethality risk assessment:
Serious assault is reduced by 60% when survivors are asked the same 11 risk assessment questions and informed of potential danger. When an officer tells a survivor they are in danger, it validates what the survivor might already know, encouraging them to get help.
- Connection to C4DP’s hotline:
When officers make a rapid connection to C4DP on the scene, survivors receive immediate assistance and learn about options to increase their safety. In C4DP’s own Impact Survey conducted with 98 survivors who C4DP assisted in the prior year, 94% reported not being physically hurt by an intimate partner in the last year.
- Establishment of the dominant aggressor:
Officers are trained to assess wounds as defensive vs. offensive. Domestic violence calls can be confusing: sometimes the abuser will play victim, and sometimes the victim will be too scared to say anything. Knowing which wounds are caused by self-defense informs the officers whom to arrest – the person who poses the most serious, ongoing threat.
First introduced in 2012, the Pocket Card Project also includes a data component. It began to take hold with law enforcement in 2014 when the domestic violence liaison started randomly sampling and coding police reports. Every time an officer asked a question on the Pocket Card, it was given a point generating a score that determined actual change. With the use of the Pocket Card, police report threat assessments increased dramatically. As the use of the card was institutionalized, the rate of calls continued to decline.
The Pocket Card has proven to have a great impact here in Marin and can be a model for other law enforcement agencies nationwide. While there is still much room for improvement in law enforcement responses, this strategic achievement brings us closer to ending domestic violence, now and forever.
As C4DP celebrates 45 years of work to end domestic violence, this documented success illustrates our progress toward that goal with the steadfast support of our community, collaborators, and donors. Every supporter is important to us, with a special thank you to the County of Marin and the Marin Community Foundation for their substantial investment in our work. We believe that one day, with your continued support, we will have domestic peace in our community. Thank you!
Presentation slides available at centerfordomesticpeace.org/PCStudy