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  Alaska Justice Forum
  Volume 26, Number 3, Fall 2009
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  • Predicting Legal Resolutions in Domestic Violence Cases
        Marny Rivera, André B. Rosay, Darryl S. Wood, and Katherine TePas
        p.1                                                                                          +cite        
        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
        Darryl S. Wood, André B. Rosay, Marny Rivera, and Katherine TePas
        p.2                                                                                          +cite        
        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. Although Alaska’s mandatory arrest law is the only policy specifically requiring official response to IPV cases, it appears that the law’s spirit of full enforcement guided other decisions regarding IPV cases as they continued through the criminal justice process in 2004. While attrition still occurred, it happened at a rate that was substantially less than what has been found outside of Alaska, indicating that IPV is taken seriously in rural Alaska. This appears to be as true for Alaska Native victims as it is for non-Native victims and it does not seem to be affected by the difficulties of travel to conduct investigations.
  • Reducing Violence Against Women in Alaska
        p.5                                                                                          +cite    
        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
        p.6                                                                                          +cite    
        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
        p.7                                                                                          +cite    
        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.