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1997 Clinic Violence Survey Report

RESULTS

ONE IN TEN CLINICS CITE FACE VIOLATIONS

More clinics brought FACE violations to the attention of federal law enforcement officials in 1997 than in 1996. Of the clinics surveyed, 12.7% (43) said that they had informed federal officials of FACE violations during the first seven months of 1997. In 1996, only 7.7% of clinics reported FACE violations. In 1995, the first full year of FACE enforcement, 20% of clinics reported FACE violations. (See Chart 7.)

Chart 7

Of the 43 clinics reporting FACE violations in 1997, 41.9% (18) were provided with clear direction for initiating FACE complaints -- the same percentage as in 1996. In 1995, only 16.2% were given clear instructions for pursuing FACE claims.

While there were more FACE reports in 1997 than in 1996 and a similar percentage of clinics felt they had been provided with clear directions for initiating FACE claims, FACE enforcement in 1997 was mixed. Two indices suggest that federal officials were pursuing FACE claims more vigorously. Federal officials were less likely to refer FACE complaints back to local officials for prosecution under local and state laws. In 1996, 50% of clinics who told us they had reported FACE violations related that federal officials had referred them back to local authorities. In 1997, the percentage of clinics told to refer their FACE complaints to local authorities decreased to 37.2% (16). In addition, during the first 7 months of 1997, 41.9% (18) of clinics reporting FACE violations said that federal officials had interviewed involved parties, compared with 29.2% in 1996.

However, other data suggest greater investigation and prosecution of FACE violations continue to be necessary. Fewer clinics in 1997 than in 1996 reported that investigations were opened as a result of their reports, and more clinics than in 1996 said that they were advised that federal authorities would not prosecute. Of clinics reporting FACE violations in 1997, only 20.9% (9) said that investigations into FACE violations had been opened; 25% of clinics reporting FACE violations in 1996 said their reports had resulted in official investigations. In 1997, the number of clinics who had reported FACE violations and were then told that federal officials would not prosecute grew to 14%. Only 8.3% of clinics in 1996 said that they were told that federal officials would not pursue FACE prosecutions.

Only 4.7% (2) of clinics who reported FACE violations in 1997 told us in the survey that federal officials had initiated civil FACE actions. The same percentage of clinics said criminal FACE actions had been initiated as a result of their reports in 1997. Both of these figures represent decreases since 1996 when 12.5% had resulted in civil action and 8.3% of clinics said their FACE reports had produced criminal FACE action.