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Empirical Analysis of Police Responses to Incidents of Wife Battery

NCJ Number
R A Berk; S F Berk; P J Newton
Date Published
20 pages
Police response to wife battering was examined in interview data for 237 female victims recruited from shelters, victim programs, and other public agencies.
Results indicate that 44 percent of offenders were arrested, 7 percent were ordered from the premises, and 49 percent received a mix of less punitive interventions. Factors that affected the degree of police punitiveness included the victim's signing a citizen arrest, drinking by the offender, and the presence of both victim and offender when police arrived. While injury to the victim resulted in greater punitiveness of police response, property damage did not. Police were likely to be less punitive in cases involving a white victim and a Hispanic offender. Finally, police tended to be less punitive if the couple was married than if not. 19 references.