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Domestic Violence in Whatcom County A Compilation of Whatcom County Domestic Violence Data January 2004 Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence 1407 Commercial Bellingham, WA 98225 360-671-5714 extension 235 Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Introduction.................................................................................................................1 Goals ...........................................................................................................................1 Process .................................................................................................................... 1-2 Limitations .............................................................................................................. 2-3 Summary of Findings.............................................................................................. 3-4 Future Implications ................................................................................................. 4-5 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INDICATORS Domestic Violence Offenses (felony & misdemeanors) ........................................ 6-7 Domestic Violence Offenses per 100,000 Population ............................................ 8-9 Domestic Violence No-Assault (verbal)...................................................................10 Domestic Violence Jail Bookings....................................... ...
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  Domestic Violence in Whatcom County     A Compilation of Whatcom County Domestic Violence Data    January 2004       Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence 1407 Commercial Bellingham, WA 98225 360-671-5714 extension 235    
 
 
Table of Contents  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Introduction.................................................................................................................1 Goals ...........................................................................................................................1 Process .................................................................................................................... 1-2 Limitations .............................................................................................................. 2-3 Summary of Findings.............................................................................................. 3-4 Future Implications ................................................................................................. 4-5  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INDICATORS  Domestic Violence Offenses (felony & misdemeanors) ........................................ 6-7 Domestic Violence Offenses per 100,000 Population ............................................ 8-9 Domestic Violence No-Assault (verbal) ...................................................................10 Domestic Violence Jail Bookings ....................................................................... 11-12 Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges...............................................................13 Superior Court (Felony) Domestic Violence Cases..................................................14 Resolution of Domestic Violence Cases and Charges ..............................................15 Domestic Violence Probation Caseload.............................................................. 16-17 Domestic Violence Protection Orders Filed(Whatcom County District & Superior Courts and Lummi & Nooksack Tribal Courts) ..........................................................................18-19 Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services Domestic Violence Program..........20 Womencare Shelter & Domestic Violence Services ................................................21  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS............................................................................................22  APPENDICES A. WA State RCW 26.50.010 WA State RCW 10.99.020............................................................................ 23-24  
 
 
Domestic Violence in Whatcom County  
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 Introduction:  The Bellingham-Whatcom County Commission Against Domestic Violence was established by a Bellingham City Council and Whatcom County Council ordinance in December 1998. The ordinance charges the Commission with six functions, one of which is to: Develop community benchmarks for monitoring domestic violence and prepare an annual report.  This report is the Commissions first attempt to compile a small sampling of Whatcom County domestic violence benchmarks, herein referred to as indicators and data. The report focuses primarily on the criminal justice response to domestic violence, as this type of data is most readily available. The report begins to answer some of these questions: violence do we have here in Whatcom County?How much domestic How does Whatcom County compare with the state? How many people arrested for domestic violence offenses are convicted? Do many domestic violence offenders re-offend?  The Commission has learned that much work and many questions remain in trying to provide complete answers to the questions above. Despite these challenges, this report provides the first compilation of domestic violence data for Whatcom County.   Goals:  The Commission hopes this report will achieve the following: Compile domestic violence data that has been historically fragmented in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of domestic violence activity in Whatcom County. Demonstrate the general outcomes of domestic violence cases that are processed in the criminal justice system. Establish current indicators in order to better evaluate changes over time. Provide a template from which to revise, standardize and add indicators. Encourage organizations and systems to use this data to inform policy and practice.  It is the Commissions intention to publish an updated report on an annual basis. The Commission invites community input. If you have suggestions or would like to share feedback, please contact the Commission Against Domestic Violence.  Process:  Two primary systems have been responding to domestic violence cases for over twenty years: the domestic violence victim service provider system and the criminal and civil
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justice system. This report focuses on data that is most readily available from the criminal and civil justice systems and the domestic violence service providers.  Despite the fact that data is available, data collection varies between jurisdictions and agencies within the criminal and civil justice and domestic violence service provider systems. Therefore, each data set in this report includes a paragraph that defines the criteria for the data. The differences in criteria for data collection make it difficult to draw detailed conclusions and make comparisons between the data collected by different agencies within the criminal and civil justice system. However, the Commission hopes the data will suggest general trends and patterns and encourage dialogue and discussion.  Washington law provides a statutory framework for the criminal and civil justice system response to domestic violence. Two key statutory provisions, listed in Appendix A, are RCW 26.50.010 and RCW 10.99.020. The criminal and civil justice system data in this report is based on the application of these statutory definitions of domestic violence.  Limitations:  1.Consistency: Due to the fact that multiple individuals and jurisdictions collect and enter data, there is always the possibility that slightly different definitions and criteria are used. This inconsistency limits concise comparisons and analysis. Over time, the Commission will work to ensure consistency as much as possible, particularly when data is collected from multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
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Missing Information: As1 on page 5, data is not readily noted on figure available from all jurisdictions; therefore some data sets are not representative of Whatcom County. The Commission is working with these jurisdictions to ensure data can be available in 2004. Domestic violence perpetrator treatment providers have not historically collected the desired data noted at the top of figure 1 on page 5. The Commission will work with these providers to create a tracking system so that data will be available in the future. Longitudinal comparisons are not possible between some data sets because data is not available for the same time periods. Domestic violence service provider data is not available from Lummi Victims of Crime, one of three primary domestic violence service providers in Whatcom County. Lummi Tribal Business Council policy and practice makes this data unavailable.  Criminal/Civil Justice System Focus:Although the criminal justice response is a critical one, it is one of many. Domestic violence is a community problem. There are many additional opportunities to track domestic violence data, such as in social and health care services.
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4.Limited Analysis: The This report provides limited analysis of the data. Commission hopes that more in-depth analysis will occur over time, as well as interest in additional data sets.  Summary of Findings:  Domestic violence offenses as reported by Whatcom County law enforcement agencies have been steady from 1998 to 2002, with a one-year decrease in 2001. There were 1,485 domestic violence offenses reported by all Whatcom County law enforcement agencies in 2002. Verbal (no-assault) domestics have seen a slight decline, although it is not clear whether or not this is a trend.There were 1,239 verbal domestics reported by the Bellingham Police Department and the Whatcom County Sheriffs Office in 2002. Domestic violence offenses, as a percent of total actual offenses, indicate a slightly higher average rate in Whatcom County than the state. Over the five year period analyzed, Whatcom County's average rate of domestic violence offenses was 14.3%, and the average rate for the state was 13.9%.In 2002, 13.5% of total actual offenses reported by Whatcom County law enforcement agencies were domestic violence related. For the State of Washington, 13.6% of all offenses were domestic violence related.   In 2002, domestic violence offenses per 100,000 population were slightly higher in Whatcom County than the state. (Whatcom County: 862, WA State: 830)Domestic violence offenses per 100,000 population vary by jurisdiction in Whatcom County; however, no longitudinal data was compiled to show trends. Domestic violence bookings represent a significant percent of jail bookings in Whatcom County, however, domestic violence offenses are one of the few misdemeanor arrests still accepted for booking.In 2002, 23.6% of the Whatcom County Jail bookings were for domestic violence related offenses. domestic violence charges showed an 8% decline over the past twoMisdemeanor years. This is in contrast to a steady reporting rate of domestic violence offenses by Whatcom County law enforcement agencies.In 2002, there were 1,139 misdemeanor domestic violence charges as reported by Whatcom County District, Municipal and Tribal Courts. violence felony case filings have slowly increased over the past 5 years,Domestic with a slight decline in 2000. From 1998  2002 there was an overall increase of 14% in felony case filings.There were 171 domestic violence related felony case filings in Whatcom County Superior Court in 2002. Whatcom County District Court Probation has seen a 59% increase in domestic violence probation cases between 1998 and 2002. The increase did not begin until 2001. This is the only data set in this report showing such a significant change and is assumed to represent changes in criminal case processing and outcomes.In 2002, 566 new domestic violence related cases were referred to Whatcom County District Court Probation. 
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Filings for Domestic Violence Protection Orders has remained steady for the past three years in all Whatcom County courts.There were 337 filings for Domestic Violence Protection Orders in all Whatcom County courts in 2002. slight and steady increase in serviceDomestic violence service providers report a usage from 1999 - 2002, with a significant increase in the numbers of individuals utilizing Womencare Shelter and its 24 hour Helpline in 2001. In order to obtain a more comprehensive picture, information is needed on the following: resolution of domestic violence misdemeanor charges and felony cases; data on completion rates of domestic violence perpetrator treatment; and recidivism rates of domestic violence offenders. The population of Whatcom County has increased 8% from 1998 to 2002. There does not appear to be a corresponding increase in reported domestic violence offenses and related criminal and civil case filings, with the exception of felony case filings.  Future Implications:  One of the Commissions goals is to collect and compile data that will provide a better understanding on the outcomes of criminal justice system interventions. This report, for example, does not include data on disposition of criminal domestic violence cases or on numbers of repeat offenders. The data is either not readily available, or is not collected consistently across jurisdictions and agencies.  Figure 1 on page 5 was created to visually demonstrate the progression of criminal domestic violence cases. The base of the pyramid represents the most common point of entry for a domestic violence case into the criminal justice system: a domestic violence offense reported by law enforcement. As the pyramid progresses upward, it generally follows the flow of a domestic violence case in the criminal justice system: jail booking, charging by the courts, disposition by the courts, and probation and domestic violence perpetrator treatment for certain cases.  Over time, the Commissions goal is to collect data from all Whatcom County jurisdictions in each of the areas noted on this diagram.This will provide a better understanding of how many domestic violence arrests result in convictions and how many people ordered into domestic violence perpetrator treatment complete the program. Answers to these questions will help inform policy and practice.  The Commission recognizes that domestic violence indicators can be found in many other arenas, such as health care, Child Protection, or mental health services. Efforts will be made to increase the types of domestic violence data available. Domestic violence is a complex problem that finds its way into multiple community systems.  
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Domestic Violence Criminal Offenses Plan for Whatcom County Data Compilation
DV Re-Offenders who completed DVPTP & Probation2003 Number who completed Whatcom County DVPTP2003 Number enrolled in Whatcom County Domestic Violence Perpetrator Treatment Programs (DVPTP)2003 
D.O.C. 1998 - 2002 New domestic Blaine Probation violence cases supervisedLummi Court by ProbationFerndale Probation Percentage of repeat offenders for 2003Misdemeanor & Felony cases Lummi Tribal Court re eat within 3 ears
Disposition of Whatcom County Misdemeanor Lummi Tribal Court Domestic Violence Charges2003 Disposition of Whatcom County Felony Domestic Violence Cases2003 Lummi Tribal Court 1998 - 2002 Domestic Violence Felony Cases & Misdemeanor Charges Filed (All Whatcom County Jurisdictions) 2001-2002 Domestic Violence Bookings at Whatcom County Jail 1998 - 2002 Whatcom County Felony and Misdemeanors Domestic Violence Offenses Reported by all Whatcom County Law Enforcement Agencies
Shading - data not currently or readily available from noted jurisdiction. Year notes time period data is currently available. 2003 indicates that the Commission hopes to compile the noted data in the future, starting with 2003 data.  Fig ure 1
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENSES  Whatcom County Domestic Violence Offenses (Felony and Misdemeanors)
14,000 12,000 10 547 10,391 10,955 DV Of f enses 10,000,9,730,510 9 Total Actual 8,000 Of f enses 6,000 4,000 2,000 1,474 1,456 1,496 1,383 1,485 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Source: All Whatcom County Law Enforcem ent Agencies "Crim e in Was hington", WA As sociation of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs                Figure 2  The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs is responsible for administering the Washington Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Under this program, individual law enforcement agencies throughout the State of Washington submit monthly Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). The UCR program provides precise definitions on the methods for counting the data that is entered into the report. This includes a category for domestic violence offenses.  Under Washington State law, offenses are considered to be domestic-related if they are committed by family members, regardless of the family relationship, or by domestic partners. There are occasions where multiple offenses occur during the same incident. Due to criteria standards established by the FBI to ensure uniform coding by all 50 states, only the highest ranking offense can be tallied for statistical purposes. The FBI monitors 26 offenses with the most serious offenses placed at the top of the list. For example: if an offender broke into a victims home, stole her car keys, forced her into her vehicle, drove her to a secluded location, sexually assaulted her, abandoned her, but took her car and her purse, then only the rape would be counted, as it is the highest ranking offense. The proper order of charges in this case would be 1) Rape, 2) Burglary, 3) Theft, 4) Auto Theft, 5) Kidnap/Unlawful Imprisonment. Therefore, for each domestic violence related incident, there is generally only one domestic violence offense counted in this database.It is important to remember that this system of coding (UCR) identifies and tallies a police identified problem and is not based on the findings of a court, medical examiner, jury or other judicial findings.  Therefore, when comparing domestic violence offenses reported by law enforcement to the data on domestic violence misdemeanor charges and felony cases (pages 13 and 14), an
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Domestic Violence in Whatcom County  event that was coded as one domestic violence offense by law enforcement could potentially result in multiple domestic violence charges.  Figure 2 compares domestic violence offenses to total actual offenses in Whatcom County. Domestic violence offenses include offenses in the following categories: criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, arson and actual offenses include all types ofviolation of Protection/No Contact Orders. Total offenses listed above, including those that are domestic violence related, with the exception of violation of any type of Protection/No Contact Orders. These violations are not included in total actual offenses. From 1998  2002, Whatcom County law enforcement agencies reported an average of 467 domestic violence related Protection/No Contact Order violations per year.  Figure 2 indicates that domestic violence offenses reported by Whatcom County law enforcement agencies have been steady for the past 5 years, with an exception of what appears to be a one-year drop in 2001. There is no apparent explanation for this decline.     
Domestic Violence Comparison to all Offenses 40.0% 35.0%ADcVt u%a lof Total 30.0% Of f enses in 25.0% Whatcom unt 1205..00%%14.0%14.1%15.0%13.8%15.6%14.2%13.3%13.8%13.5%13.6%ACDocVt u%al yof Total 10.0% Of f enses in 5.0% Washington 0.0% 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Source: All Whatcom County Law Enf orcement Agencies, "Crime in Washington , WA " Association of Sherif f s and Police Chief s           Figure 3  Whatcom County domestic violence offenses as a percent of all reported actual offenses closely parallel the statewide rate as demonstrated in figure 3. In three of the years Whatcom County had an almost even percentage rate as the state, whereas in two years it had a higher rate than the state. Over the five year period analyzed, Whatcom County's average rate of domestic violence offenses was 14.3%, and the average rate for the state was 13.9%. The change in domestic violence percentages in Whatcom County generally reflect changes in the numbers of all other reported offenses, as the rate of domestic violence offenses has remained steady. In conclusion, Whatcom County compares slightly higher than the state when evaluated on the basis of the percent of actual offenses that are domestic violence related offenses.  
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Domestic Violence in Whatcom County  
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENSES PER 100,000 POPULATION DV Offenses per 100,000 population 2002 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Whatcom County Washington State Sources: DV Offenses: "2002 Crim e in Washington", WA Ass ociation of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Population: State of Washington Office of Financial Managem ent                 Figure 4  Figure 3, Domestic Violence Comparison to all Offenses, shows that Whatcom County s ' percent of total actual offenses reported by law enforcement that were domestic violence related were almost even with the state in 2002. Figure 4 above shows that when the 2002 figures are analyzed based on population, the rate of reported domestic violence offenses per 100,000 population was higher in Whatcom County than the state. Reasons for this may be related to a more informed law enforcement response, a higher reporting rate on the part of victims and community members, or a higher domestic violence rate. Without longitudinal data and further analysis, no conclusions can be drawn.   
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Dome stic Viole nce Offe nse s pe r 100,000 Population 2002 1600 1400 1,300 1200 1000 928 755 800 600 400 200 0
408
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794 832
Sources: DV Offens es : "2002 Crim e in Was hington", WA As sociation of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Population: State of Washington Office of Financial Managem ent            Figure 5  Figure 5 was created to show the rate of domestic violence offenses per 100,000 population as reported by each law enforcement jurisdiction in Whatcom County in 2002. Bellingham represents reports from the Bellingham Police Department and Western Washington University Campus Police. Unincorporated areas represent reports from the Whatcom County Sheriffs Office and Lummi Police. All other cities are based on reports from the corresponding law enforcement agency.  With the exception of a higher rate in Ferndale and a lower rate in Lynden and Everson, all other jurisdictions are within 750-900 domestic violence offenses per 100,000 population. (As per figure 4, Whatcom Countys domestic violence offense rate per 100,000 population was 862 in 2002.) Without longitudinal data it is difficult to provide meaningful analysis, as there can be one-year dips and increases in jurisdictions, as well as multiple reasons behind reporting rates as noted on page 8. 
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