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NCJ Number: 204116 Find in a Library
Title: Calling 911 During Episodes of Domestic Abuse: What Justifies a Call for Help?
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:32  Issue:1  Dated:January/February 2004  Pages:89-92
Author(s): Su L. Boatright-Horowitz; Kristen Olick; Robert Amaral
Date Published: January 2004
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses a study on 911 calls during episodes of domestic abuse and whether these calls are justified.
Abstract: Little is known about public perception of the specific circumstances in which emergency services should be contacted during episodes of domestic abuse. In this research, male and female college students were presented with videotaped or written presentations related to domestic violence. Half of the participants were told that the female victim had been hospitalized with severe injuries in the past, resulting from domestic disputes. Other participants were told innocuous information about the female victim. Following each abusive scene, participants were asked to rate the seriousness of the scene and respond to the question of whether the 911 call was justified. In a second study, the procedures were much the same except that the number of scenes was reduced, including one nonviolent scene, a scene with physical abuse, and a scene with a verbal threat, but no physical abuse. These three scenes were transcribed in detail from the videotape and presented in written format. The results showed that participants were highly intolerant of both physical and nonphysical wife abuse, indicating that 911 calls were justified following domestic abuse episodes with physical violence and no physical injury, as well as following episodes with verbal threats, but no physical violence. In the first study, informing participants regarding a woman’s prior history with domestic abuse resulted in a greater likelihood that they would say that a call to 911 emergency services was justified. It appeared that these participants were making their judgments based on the facts presented in each situation, regardless of the woman’s history of domestic abuse. Future directions for research should involve a more systematic investigation of possible gender effects, using digitized presentations of domestic violence to the general public. 1 table, 4 figures, 1 note, 4 references
Main Term(s): Domestic assault; Public Attitudes/Opinion
Index Term(s): Abused women; Attitude measurement; Citizen crime tolerance; Citizen reactions to crime; Nine-one-one (911) emergency telephone number; Public Opinion of Crime
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