U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Social Service Role of Police - Domestic Crisis Intervention

NCJ Number
B R Levens; D G Dutton
Date Published
242 pages
This report reviews programs for training police in domestic crisis intervention, identifies components of successful intervention strategies, and examines the outcome of such training for Canadian police.
Data were collected through a literature review, examination of training documents, sampling of citizen requests for police intervention, a police attitude survey, self-reports by Canadian police, and inquiries to Canadian social agencies. Results showed that almost half of police officers' time was spent on social service activities, including family disputes which required the police to manage volatile conflict situations and to act as social workers, psychologists, and marital counselors. Although social service training programs have been established, full commitment of police departments to such training is needed. The literature review also indicated that police involvement in domestic disputes is appropriate. The British Columbia training program emphasized action skills rather than theory. Training did not change the average time needed to handle a dispute, but it reduced the proportion of cases requiring more than 40 minutes. Training also made officers' more aware of alcohol's role in family disputes and seemed to increase the use of such alternatives as mediation, referral, and diversion, as well as police collaboration with the external social service network. The report concludes that training should emphasize police safety, quick police availability, effective dispute management, referral assessment, and links to the social agency network. Findings imply an expanded and changing role for police personnel, a need for social service agencies to recognize police as casefinders, and a diversion of domestic dispute cases from the criminal justice system. Additional implications, descriptions of components of effective training and responses to domestic disputes, footnotes, tables, chapter reference lists, and a copy of the Vancouver, British Columbia, reporting form are included. For substudies, see NCJ 70350-51.