Alaska Justice Forum 26(3), Fall 2009

The Fall 2009 issue of the Alaska Justice Forum focuses on violence against women, with articles on legal resolutions and attrition in domestic violence cases reported to Alaska State Troopers, recent recommendations from Alaska lawmakers and the Governor on reducing violence in Alaska, and the relationship between animal abuse and domestic violence. An additional article details recent data about leading causes of death for Alaska and the U.S.

"Predicting Legal Resolutions in Domestic Violence Cases" 
by Marny Rivera, André B. Rosay, Darryl S. Wood, and Katherine TePas

This article discusses characteristics of assaults in domestic violence incidents reported to Alaska State Troopers — reports, suspects, victims, victim-suspect relationships, and incidents — and the degree to which they influenced prosecution of domestic violence cases. Characteristics that predicted prosecution generally included the following: severity of the incident or corroboration of the victims' description of events, thorough investigation and/or interrogation practices, intimate partner relationship between victim and suspect, and the incident occurring in an area with a VPSO or VPO program. Characteristics that significantly predicted prosecution can be used as the basis for modifications in policy and/or practice to enhance prosecution of domestic violence cases in Alaska.

"Attrition in Cases of Violence Against Women Reported to the Alaska State Troopers"
by Darryl S. Wood, André B. Rosay, Marny Rivera, and Katherine TePas

The Alaska statutory requirement that arrests be made for all crimes involving domestic violence is rooted in research that suggests mandatory arrest has a specific deterrent effect in cases of misdemeanor assault committed by males against their female intimate partners. In this article we consider police, prosecutor, and court decision-making about intimate partner violence (IPV) cases initially dealt with by the Alaska State Troopers in 2004. The results presented allow us to consider the attrition of cases of IPV assault reported to the Troopers and prosecuted by the Alaska Department of Law.

"Reducing Violence Against Women in Alaska"

Alaska has long been plagued by high rates of violence against women. Relative to the average U.S. rate of forcible rapes reported to law enforcement from 2003 to 2008, the average Alaska rate was 2.6 times higher, the average Anchorage rate was 2.9 times higher, and the average Fairbanks rate was 5.0 times higher. Alaska has the highest rate of forcible rape reported to law enforcement out of all U.S states. This article summarizes recent recommendations from the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee and from Governor Sean Parnell to reduce violence against women in Alaska.

"Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence"

Animal abuse is one factor in the dynamic of intimate partner violence, and can be used by law enforcement and domestic violence advocates in assessing risk. Studies have documented high rates of pet ownership by domestic violence victims in shelters, a substantial rate of children's exposure to pet abuse, and clear indications that domestic violence victims' concern for pets affect decisions to stay in or leave relationships with batterers. This article describes efforts to address some of these issues, including some in Alaska. A bibliography of further reading on animal abuse and domestic violence is included.

"Leading Causes of Death"

This article details recent data about leading causes of death for Alaska and the U.S. Diseases of the body, particularly malignant neoplasms (cancer) and heart disease, continue to rank among the leading causes of death for the overall population; however, suicide and homicide rank among the top five causes of death in Alaska for age groups up to age 44.

"Visiting Faculty"

Announcing the visit of Dr. Adrienne Freng of University of Wyoming as visiting faculty for the Spring 2010 semester.