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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 157474 Find in a Library
Title: Police Referrals to Shelters and Mental Health Treatment: Examining Their Decisions in Domestic Assault Cases
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:41  Issue:4  Dated:special issue (October 1995)  Pages:467-480
Author(s): M A Finn; L J Stalans
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA 30303
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined how an abusive husband's mental state, antagonism between the husband and wife, and the wife's injuries affect police officers' inferences and referral decisions regarding victim shelters and mental health services.
Abstract: Police officers (n=257) were drawn from public safety training centers responsible for providing in-service training to experienced officers and mandatory training for rookie officers in the north Georgia area. Most officers were male (88.7 percent) and white (70 percent). Using a 2x2x3 between subjects design, the study manipulated three features of the script: victim's injury, antagonism between the disputants, and the husband's mental state (normal, hallucinations, drunken) to produce 12 scripts. Respondents were individually randomly assigned to read only one of the 12 scripts; they answered closed-ended questions that assessed the mediating inferences related to their decisions. The findings show that the presence of injury to the victim and the husband's mental illness influenced a number of inferences about the husband; the most important inferences were his credibility and responsibility for the violence, which were crucial predictors of officers' referral decisions. Officers focused less on assessing the fault of the victim and more on substantiating claims and determining the risk of future violence. Alcohol use by the husband or antagonism between the disputants did not affect officers' inferences or referral decisions. Findings suggest that officers are reluctant to refer victims to shelters despite the presence of moderate injuries. 5 tables, 8 notes, and 16 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Domestic assault; Female victims; Mental health services; Police referral; Police services for victims; Referral services; Shelters for Battered Women
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