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Policy, Place, and Perpetrators Using NIBRS to Explain Arrest Practice in Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 9 Issue: 2 Dated: 2007 Pages: 31-51
Date Published
21 pages

This study used a national dataset to determine the impact of place, policy, and perpetrator factors in predicting arrest outcomes in intimate partner violence incidents.


Evidence concludes that place, policy and perpetrator factors all play a role in understanding arrest outcomes in intimate partner violence, as well as other forms of violence. Although rural women were reluctant to involve the police in domestic incidents, when police officially responded, arrests were more likely in rural areas than urban areas. Incident rates also had a significant impact; the higher the rate of incidents, the lower the likelihood of arrest, even after controlling for domestic violence arrest legislation and offense seriousness measures, which were also significant independent predictors in addition to urban/rural differences. It is possible that high incident rates normalize behavior in the minds of police officers, and as a result they take such behavior less seriously. Also, lower arrest rates were experienced by Black offenders since it has been suggested that police may see violence as more acceptable conduct for these offenders. Offenses committed in private places were more likely to result in arrest for all relationship categories, in both urban and rural jurisdictions. Female victims are at far greater risk for being victimized in private places compared to males. Larger suburban departments, or those with relatively lower incomes, tend to resemble urban departments in terms of time spent on crime-related encounters, while smaller suburban departments bear greater similarity to rural departments. Data were collected using National Institute Based Incident Reporting System (NIBRS) data for the calendar year 2000. Tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 2007