COPS Office Microgrant Success Story: High Point, NC, Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative

In 2013, the COPS Office funded High Point, North Carolina Police Department (HPPD) for the strategy and evaluation of the High Point Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI). The OFDVI strategy targets the domestic violence offender to reduce repeat domestic violence incidents, reported assaults, injuries, and deaths. The strategy involves classifying domestic violence intimate partner offenders in specific categories based on their history of offending, and then directly communicating strong community standards while ensuring swift and effective consequences for future violence. Since 2010 the HPPD has partnered with the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNCG) as a research partner for the OFDVI Initiative. UNCG conducted the original research of arrest records for chronic intimate partner (IP) domestic violence offenders in High Point. Data analysis revealed these offenders had records for both domestic and non-domestic violence, supplying the HPPD the necessary data that chronic domestic violence offenders had the necessary legal levers available to enforce focused deterrence messaging.

At that time the HPPD began building partnerships with services agencies, the court system, probation and parole, the community, and researchers that were all familiar with and impacted by the issue of domestic violence. The OFDVI workgroup was formed to address gaps and problems associated with the overall strategy, track offenders and discuss victim needs to make certain that domestic violence offenders received stiff, certain, and swift consequences for repeated domestic violence offenses and that victims are protected. The OFDVI workgroup discussions are critical in the identification of gaps in services, and have led to changes in systems that address victim safety and more effective intervention with offenders.

Since the inception of the OFDVI strategy, the HPPD has documented a 17 percent recidivism rate among domestic violence offenders who have been notified through the strategy since April 2012. Domestic violence assaults with injuries decreased significantly since strategy implementation. The percentage of total domestic violence arrests with injuries reported to the victims decreased from 46.5 percent in 2011 to 30.4 percent in 2013.

Since beginning work in 2009, High Point has had two intimate partner domestic violence– related homicides, compared to 17 from 2004-2008. The first happened in 2013. That family had recently moved to High Point from Ethiopia. There were no calls for service to the residence, no Department of Social Services calls, and no emergency room visits; thus there were no early intervention point of contact with this family that HPPD could have used to know about the ongoing domestic violence within this family. The second happened in 2015 in a hotel room. The victim, a resident of another North Carolina city, was strangled in the hotel room. The offender, a sometime resident of High Point and other North Carolina cities, had no previous domestic violence offenses. While the victim had been a previous victim of IP violence in another city, it was with a previous partner and HPPD had no access to the victim for advocacy.

With the profound evidence-based results, the HPPD has received tremendous interest from numerous law enforcement agencies across the United States requesting assistance with implementing the OFDVI strategy. At present time, HPPD is working with the Lexington Police (NC) Department in implementing the OFDVI strategy as a result of funding from the COPS office. Interest in implementation has been expressed by agencies such as Chula Vista, California; Washoe County Sheriff's Office (Reno, Nevada); Buncombe County, North Carolina; Guilford County Sheriff’s Office (Greensboro, North Carolina); and many others.

The full Evaluation of the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative (OFDVI) in High Point, NC & Replication in Lexington, NC is available online.

Timothy Ellenberger
Captain, Major Crimes Section
High Point Police Department

Stacy Sechrist, Ph.D. and John Weil
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Nazmia Comrie
Senior Program Specialist
The COPS Office

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