Mr Steve Yeong1, Dr Suzanne Poynton2
1NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, Australia, 2NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Sydney, Australia
Objectives: To identify the causal effect of pre-recorded evidence on the probability of a conviction in cases of Domestic Violence (DV) assault.
Methods: We use administrative police and court data from the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). The data contains information for cases involving at least one DV assault charge that was finalised between 1 June 2015 and 31 August 2018. Using these data we exploit exogenous variation in the availability of pre-recorded evidence in an Instrumental Variables framework. Because there are no “always-takers” in our setting, this approach enables us to identify the Average Treatment Effect on the Treated.
Results: We find that pre-recorded evidence increases the probability of a conviction by six percentage points. In relative terms, when compared to cases without pre-recorded evidence, this equates to an increase of 7.9 per cent. When we restrict our sample to the one in four cases that proceed to a defended hearing, we find that pre-recorded evidence raises the probability of a conviction by 17.1 percentage points (a relative increase of 24.5%).
Conclusions: Pre-recorded evidence raises conviction rates in cases of DV assault, particularly for cases that proceed to a defended hearing.
Steve works on the research team at the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and is also currently studying for a PhD in economics at the University of Sydney.