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Conference Report - Maine Research Agenda

Below is an overview of research needed in Maine, sifted from the conference discussion notes, and supported by relevant scholarship as appropriate. The five points below are not listed in any particular order.

  • Prevalence study:  “If trends are to be estimated and the general effectiveness of interventions assessed, prevalence data must be improved” (Kruttschnitt et al, 2004, p. 3).
    • What’s the scope of the problem of domestic violence and sexual assault in Maine?
    • What is the prevalence of victimization with particular populations, and what are implications for outreach and prevention efforts?
      • Elderly.
      • Native populations: According to Dugan & Apel, Native American women have considerably higher rates of victimization than other racial groups of women (in Kruttschnitt et al, 2004, p. 51).
      • Rural populations (see Johnson, 2000; Lewis, 2003).
  • Causes: Need research to enhance understanding of factors that make some populations more vulnerable to victimization (vulnerability factors) and more at risk for perpetration (risk factors). Further, what are contributing factors (e.g., individual, relational, community, and societal factors)? What vulnerability factors and risk factors are correlated with what contributing factors?
  • Social Ecology Studies: (see Kruttschnitt et al, 2004, p. 5)
    • Investigate which social and spatial features influence rates and types of violence (e.g., rural community).
    • Distribution of services: Examine whether access to local services can affect localized rates of intimate-partner violence, and consider implications for prevention and outreach efforts.
    • Investigate the effects of social area factors on legal sanctions and other interventions.
  • Evaluate prevention and intervention programs.
  • Offender accountability initiatives.
    • Evaluate batterer intervention programs, sex offender programs, and similar treatment programs.
    • Examine how social stigma for committing violence against women is generated and either sustained or eroded.
    • Investigate how perceptions of the risk of sanctions are generated and sustained over time for offenders (Kruttschnitt, McLaughlin & Petrie, 2004).

Some noteworthy methodological options for future research were prominent in conference discussion notes, and could apply to any of the five agenda points above or to any of the four conference foci (prevention, victim services, offender accountability, and tribal efforts and practices).

  • Conduct longitudinal studies: Among the many possible research initiatives, it is imperative to support long-term evaluations of prevention and treatment programs in order to improve chances of affecting long-term reductions in incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Improve definitions and data: It is important to develop clear definitions of the terms used by researchers and practitioners in their work, as well as to develop and test (new) scales and other measurement tools to make operational the key definitions (see Kruttschnitt et al, 2004, pp. 97-8).


Domestic Violence Resources. Tribal Court Clearinghouse. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from

Dugan, L. & R. Apel. (2003). An exploratory study of the violent victimization of women: Race/ethnicity and situational context. Criminology, 41(3), pp. 959-979.

Hamby, S.L. (2004). Sexual Victimization in Indian Country: Barriers and resources for Native women seeking help. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from

Johnson, R.M. (2000). Rural Health Response to Domestic Violence: Emerging Public Policy Issues and Best Practices. Health Resources and Services Administration. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from

Kruttschnitt, C., McLaughlin, B.L., & Petrie, C.V. (Eds.). (2004). Advancing the Federal Research Agenda on Violence Against Women. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from

Lewis, S.H. (2003). Unspoken Crimes: Sexual Assault in Rural America. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Retrieved March 15, 2006 from

Sherman, L. (1993). Defiance, Deterrence, and Irrelevance: A Theory of the Criminal Sanction.Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 30, pp. 445-473.

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