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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Introduction

In 1996, the Florida Department of Corrections was statutorily mandated to conduct certification and monitoring assessments of Batterer Intervention Programs in Florida. These programs are designed to address and treat the "power and control" issues used by offenders in domestic violence situations. The monitoring of these programs is performed by department field staff around the state and managed by administrators in the department's central office.

The Governor's Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Violence awarded the Department of Corrections' Bureau of Research and Data Analysis a grant to evaluate the effectiveness of the state certified Batterer Intervention Programs. The Department began entering data on 97 programs in March 1998, and as of June 30, 1999, received information on 9,727 offenders who had been terminated, either successfully or unsuccessfully, from a Batterer Intervention Program. In relation to the evaluation of these programs, the bureau was interested in the public's perception of domestic violence and treatment in Florida.

A survey was developed by the department's research bureau to collect information on perceptions and attitudes of domestic violence from citizens in Florida. The research bureau teamed with University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) to conduct a survey. In May 1999, BEBR contacted 502 Floridians by telephone to get their response to 25 questions on the magnitude, cause, and solution to domestic violence.

Cost

The University of Florida's BEBR was selected based on their extensive experience in conducting citizen surveys, low cost ($6,000), and their use of the same statistical software (SAS) as the department. The Florida Department of Corrections has utilized their services for the department sponsored survey Corrections in Florida: What the Public, News Media and DC Staff Think.

Methodology

In May 1999, the BEBR conducted an independent survey using questions developed by the Department of Corrections. A total of 502 respondents were contacted by telephone and completed the entire survey. A comparison of the Florida population to the sample population shows that the sample population is adequately similar to the general Florida population in terms of both age and gender (See Appendix A). In order to participate in the survey, the respondent must have been at least 18 years old. The sample was random, drawn proportionate to county population. The survey was conducted by BEBR by telephone during the last two weeks of May. Floridians were contacted from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday; 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 2:00p.m. to 8:00 p.m on Sunday. Nearly 95 percent of Florida households have a telephone. The cooperation rate for the survey was 53% (502 completed surveys/957 eligible citizens contacted). The disposition is as follows: 502 completes, 447 refusals, 517 ineligible, 1,131 non-working phone numbers, 894 no answer and 8 incomplete.

In the tables and figures to follow in this report, those listed as "Cases Not Applicable" in each question consist of those who answered "Don't Know" or Not Available". Those listed as "Cases Not Applicable" were not used in calculating percentages.

Error Rates

Apart from the potential error introduced by response bias (those who refuse to participate), all surveys have some error due to the fact that all persons in the target population were not contacted. When there is variation in responses to a question, which is common, the possibility exists that if the survey were conducted again, different results would be obtained. This is the margin of error. The margin of error can be estimated based on the variance of responses and the number of interviews. The statewide estimates for this survey have a margin of error plus or minus 4.5 percent. The actual margin of error for each estimate depends on the actual distribution of responses.