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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204151 Find in a Library
Title: Fair Treatment or Preferred Outcome?: The Impact of Police Behavior on Victim Reports of Domestic Violence Incidents
Journal: Law & Society Review  Volume:37  Issue:3  Dated:2003  Pages:607-634
Author(s): Laura J. Hickman; Sally S. Simpson
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 28
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In exploring victim reporting of domestic violence, this study focused on whether there is a link between the victim's assessment of police behavior during a previous domestic violence incident and the likelihood that she will report susequent victimizations to the police.
Abstract: From a procedural justice perspective, the study tested the hypothesis that victims should be more willing to report victimization when previous encounters with police are viewed by victims as procedurally fair. From a distributive justice perspective, another hypothesis tested was that denying victims their preferred outcome may discourage future reporting to police. The study selected the Metro-Dade County (Florida) SARP (Spouse Assault Replication Program) Experiment for the research data, because researchers believed it to be best suited for measuring both the outcome and process hypotheses. This experiment was designed to test whether the use of arrest produced a deterrent effect among suspects randomly assigned to receive this outcome relative to those receiving contact from police but no arrest. Data were collected from August 1987 to July 1989. The current research identified the subsample of victims who experienced some form of subsequent victimization that may or may not have been reported to police. In both the initial interview and 6-month follow-up interview, victims were asked whether there had been any form of revictimization since the experimental incident. A total of 198 victims qualified for inclusion in the study. The findings indicate that victims were more likely to call police upon a repeat victimization when police had acted in a manner consistent with the victims preferences (outcome hypothesis was thus supported). Conversely, there was no support for the process hypothesis. Instead, victims who felt unfairly treated by police in one incident of domestic violence were more likely to call them in response to a subsequent victimization than were victim who felt fairly treated by police. The researchers advise that this research is exploratory and tentative, and they recommend continued empirical examination of how police behavior may influence the reporting of domestic violence. 6 tables and 55 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Citizen crime reporting; Domestic assault; Recidivist victims; Unreported crimes; Victim reactions to crime; Victim reactions to the Criminal Justice System
Note: A version of this work was presented at the 2000 meeting of the American Society of Criminology in San Francisco, CA.
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