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The likelihood of early guilty pleas following digitally recorded victim statements for family violence Darren Walton, Ross Ellwood and Samara Martini

By: Walton, Darren.
Contributor(s): Ellwood, Ross | Martin, Samara.
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleSeries: Journal of Interpersonal Violence.Publisher: Sage, 2021Subject(s): New Zealand Police | Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa | COURTS | EVIDENCE | FAMILY VIOLENCE | INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE | PERPETRATORS | POLICE PROCEDURES | TECHNOLOGY | VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | VIDEO EVIDENCE | NEW ZEALANDOnline resources: DOI: 10.1177/08862605211055083 In: Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2021, First published online, 26 November 2021Summary: This study follows 4715 Family Harm cases for which charges are laid (from around 15,000 events from 2018–2020). Comparisons are made between cases where a digitally recorded victim video statement (VVS) is taken to those who (1) make a written statement, (2) refuse to make any statement and (3) present at the public counter and make a written statement. Findings indicate that VVS increases the rates of an early guilty plea by 95% (OR = 1.95, LCL = 1.34, UCL = 2.7) compared to those who decline a VVS and have a written statement. No difference is observed for those presenting to report an event at a public counter. A more modest effect is observed comparing those who refuse a statement altogether (OR = 1.28, LCL = 1.03, UCL = 1.60). A VVS is nearly twice as likely to lead to an early guilty plea. It is reasoned that there is a poor rate of guilty pleas for written statements, rather than an elevation in rates for VVS. Age and gender are unrelated to the elevated rate of pleading guilty to a VVS. Event seriousness is inversely related to pleading guilty, whereas having many prior convictions or being remanded increases the likelihood of the guilty plea. (Authors' abstract). Record #7380
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Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2021, First published online, 26 November 2021

This study follows 4715 Family Harm cases for which charges are laid (from around 15,000 events from 2018–2020). Comparisons are made between cases where a digitally recorded victim video statement (VVS) is taken to those who (1) make a written statement, (2) refuse to make any statement and (3) present at the public counter and make a written statement. Findings indicate that VVS increases the rates of an early guilty plea by 95% (OR = 1.95, LCL = 1.34, UCL = 2.7) compared to those who decline a VVS and have a written statement. No difference is observed for those presenting to report an event at a public counter. A more modest effect is observed comparing those who refuse a statement altogether (OR = 1.28, LCL = 1.03, UCL = 1.60). A VVS is nearly twice as likely to lead to an early guilty plea. It is reasoned that there is a poor rate of guilty pleas for written statements, rather than an elevation in rates for VVS. Age and gender are unrelated to the elevated rate of pleading guilty to a VVS. Event seriousness is inversely related to pleading guilty, whereas having many prior convictions or being remanded increases the likelihood of the guilty plea. (Authors' abstract). Record #7380