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Impact of Relationship Status, Gender, and Minor Status in the Police Response to Domestic Assaults

NCJ Number
Victims & Offenders Volume: 1 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2006 Pages: 323-360
Eve S. Buzawa; Gerald T. Hotaling
Date Published
December 2006
38 pages
Data from police records on 320 domestic violence calls for assistance collected during a 4-month period from 5 jurisdictions operating under a pro-arrest statute in a Northeastern State were examined to determine the distribution of incidents by victim-suspect household relationship.
It was hypothesized that, despite the lack of any statutory distinction, police compliance with the requirements of a pro-arrest statuteand mandatory arrest policieswould be higher in incidents involving a parent complainant than in incidents between other household members. Logistic and ordinary least-squares regression indicated that the odds of arrest for cases of child to parent and sibling assault were significantly higher than for other kinds of relationships, especially adult partner cases. Analyses also revealed that police compliance with victim assistance actions was significantly less likely for victims of parent to child and sibling violence relative to other victim-suspect relationships. The police were also more legalistic in the application of the statute to both female victims and female suspects. The implications of the increased role of extra-legal variables in the arrest decision (i.e. age, gender and relationship status) and the police support of parental authority are examined. (Published Abstract)