Can pre-recorded evidence raise conviction rates in cases of domestic violence?

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.


Biography:

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.

Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing

The Australia & New Zealand Society of Evidence Based Policing (ANZSEBP) was formed in April 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. The ANZSEBP is a police practitioner-led Society. The mission of the ANZSEBP is to develop, disseminate and advocate for police to use scientific research (“the evidence”) to guide best practice in all aspects of policing. The ANZSEBP Chairperson serves on the Executive Board of the British Society of Evidence Based Policing, ensuring that the ANZSEBP works cooperatively with an international group of police to advance evidence based policing.

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