Offender Profile and Recidivism among Domestic Violence Offenders in Ontario

6. Domestic Violence Recidivism by Court Type

6. Domestic Violence Recidivism by Court Type

This section examines the variables that most influence recidivism between offenders who appeared in a DVC and offenders who appeared in other Ontario courts.

6.1 Offender Characteristics by Court Type

Table 18 shows the relationship between gender and age and recidivism by court type. Male offenders were more likely than female offenders in both court types to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction (34% versus 21% for DVC and 34% versus 17% for other Ontario courts).

Offenders aged 18 to 34 years old were more likely than any other age group to be reconvicted of a criminal offence following the index domestic violence conviction in both court types.

Table 23 presents chi square results for selected variables presented in this section. According to these results, gender appeared to play a statistically significant role in the likelihood of recidivism in DVC (p<0.05) while age appeared to play a significant role in the likelihood of recidivism in both court types (p<0.05 in DVC and p<0.01 in other Ontario courts).

Table 18: Gender and Age by Reconviction Status and Court Type, 2001

6.2 Criminal History and Recidivism by Court Type

Table 19 presents data on the relationship between criminal history and recidivism by court type. Offenders who were convicted of a criminal offence prior to the index domestic violence conviction were almost four times more likely than offenders who had no prior conviction to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction, whether they appeared in a DVC (41% versus 10%) or other Ontario courts (40% versus 13%).

In terms of seriousness of prior convictions, the more serious the prior conviction, the more likely offenders were to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction, in both court types. One-half (52% in DVC and 50% in other Ontario courts) of the offenders convicted of serious violence prior to the index domestic violence conviction were reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction, compared to about 40% of offenders convicted of violence (37% in DVC and 41% in other Ontario courts).

Similarly, the more serious the previous sentence, the more likely offenders were to re-offend following the index domestic violence conviction. Almost one-in-two offenders who received a prison sentence (48% in DVC and 49% in other Ontario courts) were reconvicted of a criminal offence following the index domestic violence conviction compared to offenders who received a probation sentence (26% in DVC and 23% in other Ontario courts).

All variables related to the offender's criminal history appear to be significantly related to recidivism, whatever the court type may be, as shown in Table 23.

Table 19: Prior Conviction, Seriousness Index, Most Serious Prior Conviction and Most Serious Sentence by Reconviction Status and Court Type, 2001

6.3 Index Domestic Violence Conviction and Recidivism by Court Type

Table 20 presents data on the relationship between the index domestic violence conviction and recidivism by court type. As presented in the previous section, the relationship between these variables is not as significant as the relationship between criminal history and recidivism. The seriousness of the index domestic violence conviction does not play a statistically significant role in the likelihood of recidivism (p=0.0648 for DVC and p=0.2939 for other Ontario courts). However, it does seem that the more serious the index domestic violence conviction, the more likely offenders were to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction, if they appeared in a DVC. For instance, DVC offenders convicted of serious violence were more likely than offenders convicted of threatening violence to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction (32% versus 18% respectively). In comparison, in other Ontario courts, the opposite trend was recorded: offenders convicted of threatening violence were more likely than offenders convicted of serious violence to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction (46% versus 34% respectively).

The sentence received for the index domestic violence conviction, however, does appear to play a statistically significant role in the likelihood of recidivism (p<0.0001 for both court types). Again, almost one-in-two (45% in each court type) offenders who were sentenced to prison were reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction compared to probation sentence (17% in DVC and 21% in other Ontario courts).

Table 20: Seriousness Index, Most Serious Index Domestic Violence Conviction and Most Serious Sentence by Reconviction Status and Court Type, 2001

6.4 Sentence Length and Recidivism

Table 21 presents data on prison and probation sentence length and its relationship with recidivism by court type. Prison sentence length appears to be play a statistically significant role in the likelihood of recidivism (p<0.0001) whether offenders appeared in a DVC or other Ontario courts: the shorter the prison sentence, the more likely offenders were to be reconvicted. Data shows that, for both court types, if the prison sentence was between 1 to 3 months, the offender was more likely to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction compared to a prison sentence of any other length.

Even though probation sentence length does not appear to play a significant role in recidivism, the longer the probation sentence for the index domestic violence conviction, the more likely an offender was to be reconvicted. For example, DVC offenders who received a probation sentence of over 24 months were twice as likely as offenders who received a probation sentence of 6 to 12 months to be reconvicted after the index domestic violence conviction (36% versus 17%). The difference was not as significant for offenders who appeared in other Ontario courts, although the trend was similar (25% versus 21%).

Table 21: Prison/Probation Sentence Length by Reconviction Status and Court Type, 2001

6.5 History of Convictions and Charges without Convictions and Recidivism by Court Type

Table 22 presents data on offenders' conviction history and charging history by court types. Both variables appear to play a significant role in the likelihood of recidivism for both court types (p<0.0001). As presented earlier, the more convictions offenders received throughout their lifetime, the more likely they were to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction, whatever the court type. For example, DVC offenders who had over 10 lifetime convictions were six times more likely than offenders who only had 2 lifetime convictions to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence offence (63% versus 10% respectively). The proportions for offenders who appeared in other Ontario courts were similar (66% versus 14% respectively).

Similarly, the more charges laid (without convictions) against offenders throughout their lifetime, the more likely they were to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence conviction. For example, DVC offenders who had over 10 charges laid in their lifetime (without convictions) were four times more likely than offenders who had no charges laid in their lifetime (without convictions) to be reconvicted following the index domestic violence offence (65% versus 15% respectively). The proportions for offenders who appeared in other Ontario courts were similar (64% versus 19%).

Table 22: Total Number of Lifetime Convictions and Number of Charges Laid in Lifetime without Convictions by Reconviction Status and Court Type, 2001

6.6 Statistical Significance by Court Type

Table 23 presents chi square results on the variables discussed above by court type. As mentioned earlier, mostly all variables related to the offender's criminal history appear to play a statistically significant role in the likelihood of recidivism as well as the sentence received for the index domestic violence conviction. Lifetime convictions and lifetime charges without convictions also appear to have a statistically significant relationship with recidivism.

Table 23: Chi Square Results for Selected Variables Influencing Reconvictions, by Court Type, 2001
  Domestic Violence Courts Other Ontario Courts
Gender 0.0125 0.0783
Age 0.0110 0.0027
Prior Criminal Record <0.0001 <0.0001
Seriousness Index for Prior Conviction 0.0343 0.1003
Most Serious Prior Conviction 0.0113 0.0277
Most Serious Sentence for Prior Conviction 0.0012 0.0002
Seriousness Index for Index Domestic Violence Conviction 0.0648 0.2939
Most Serious Index Domestic Violence Conviction 0.1992 0.1708
Most Serious Sentence for Index Domestic Violence Conviction <0.0001 <0.0001
Prison Sentence Length for Index Domestic Violence Conviction 0.0134 0.0932
Probation Sentence Length for Index Domestic Violence Conviction 0.1565 0.9606
Total Number of Lifetime Convictions <0.0001 <0.0001
Total Number of Lifetime Charges without Conviction <0.0001 <0.0001

Date modified: