- Criminal Justice Division (CJD)
- Texas Office of the Governor
Project ReVEAl pilot Evaluation: Recording victim video statements as evidence to advance legal outcomes in family violence cases
Family violence affects many individuals in Texas, and law enforcement professional experience unique challenges in working with this population. Studies show that 38 percent of adult women in Texas report having experienced some form of family violence. With prevalence rates such as this, Texas has begun making attempts at addressing the issue.
Project ReVEAL is a pilot study that will examine the applicability, efficacy, and cost effectiveness of an intervention using victim’s video recordings. These video recordings have been used as an intervention strategy in El Paso and Comal counties previously, and have rendered effective in several areas. Project ReVEAL will seek to further the evidence of this intervention.
Since family violence victims often drop their participation in the criminal justice system, it is difficult for a state to proceed in making the necessary case for prosecution and the offender is not held accountable. Videotapes of the victim’s initial statements are a powerful tool that can be used to continue the prosecution. Project ReVEAL will evaluate video statements with aims to (1) improve prosecutorial case readiness in family violence crimes, (2) increase the accountability of family violence offenders, and (3) significantly reduce the costs of adjudicating family violence cases. These goals will be achieved through implementation of the project’s evaluation in three jurisdictions in Texas, and engaging three law enforcement and three district attorney jurisdictions in an empirical process and outcome based strategies. The project will then evaluate the effectiveness of these video recordings at keeping offenders accountable, and then additionally, identify costs and benefits of utilizing the recordings.
The project will contribute to the literature by strengthening the evidence on using family violence victim initial statement video recordings. The project also will potentially improve safety within families and hold family violence offenders accountable. Results will contribute to the creation of a model for other Texas jurisdictions. All of these efforts will ultimately strive to spread awareness and reduce family violence in Texas.