ASU is studying how to keep domestic violence survivors safe as their partners await trial

By Reyna Preciado
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 7:44am
Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:53am

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Sixty-four people in the state have died this year alone from domestic violence, according to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Now, an Arizona State University study hopes to help survivors feel safer as their accused partners await trial. 

A criminal justice investment fund awarded more than $3 million to Jill Messing from the Arizona State University School of Social Work. Over the next three years, Messing and her research team will be looking at domestic violence cases nationwide. The team will consider the risk factors that signal a danger to a domestic violence survivor as an accused partner awaits trial. She describes the risk factors of one of these cases.

Jill Messing
Jean Clare Sarmiento/KJZZ
Jill Messing in KJZZ's studio in January 2020.

“There had been threats with weapons, there had been threats to kill her. So these are all risk factors that are used on these domestic violence risk assessments. And then the person was released at pretrial, and killed his partner during that time," said Messing.

Messing says understanding the risks will help determine the best approach to keeping survivors safe during the pretrial period. Their goal is to study 30,000 domestic violence cases and speak with 600 survivors.

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