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Domestic Violence & Victims


Bringing Victims into Community Policing

Susan Herman, David Weisburd, David Anderson, Rosann Greenspan, Graham Farrell, Karen Dempsey

Community policing emphasizes the importance of partnerships and problem solving. However, typically partnerships and problem solving do not involve victims of crime. Recognizing the potential for crime victims to strengthen crime prevention and problem solving efforts in community policing, this project sought to develop models for integrating crime victims and victims' organizations into community policing activities. Project activities included: (1) establishing a baseline of current practices regarding the involvement of victims and victims' organizations in community policing; and (2) identifying promising policies and practices involving victims and victims' organizations in crime prevention and problem-solving efforts in community policing.

To illustrate the role that victims and victim organizations can play, we developed a set of tools designed to help police organizations prevent repeat victimization and respond effectively to victims of crime. The model policy on preventing repeat victimization provides a blueprint for how police organizations could begin to integrate the prevention of repeat victimization into general operations. The guide to first response recommends a collaborative problem-solving approach between police and victims, and then illustrates how that approach can be used in response to domestic violence, residential burglary, and automobile theft.


The Course of Domestic Abuse Among Chicago's Elderly: Risk Factors, Protective Behaviors, and Police Intervention

Karen L. Amendola, Meghan G. Slipka, Edwin E. Hamilton, and Julie L. Whitman (December 2010) Police Foundation Report

This study examines if and how risk factors and protective behaviors affect the course of abuse over time and the role of the police in intervening with elderly victims of domestic abuse and/or neglect. The findings suggest that intervention by police officers trained to deal with the elderly and/or domestic abuse victims can lead to increased engagement in protective behaviors and ultimately reductions in the number of frequently occurring forms of abuse. Implications for the law enforcement community’s response to elder abuse victimization as well as limitations of the study are discussed.


Creating an Effective Stalking Protocol

National Center for Victims of Crime and Police Foundation

The goal of this project was to develop and test a model protocol to guide law enforcement responses to stalking based on community policing. The objectives were: (1) to promote a strategic approach that encourages early intervention; (2) to broadly define the roles of functional areas within police departments, including 911 operators, patrol, and investigative units; (3) to present guidelines for developing and participating in a coordinated community response; and (4) to encourage the use of collaborative problem-solving techniques


Customer Satisfaction: Crime Victims’ Willingness to Call the Police

Candace Kruttschnitt and Kristin Carbone-Lopez (December 2009)

Results from the original victimization survey conducted by the 1967 President’s Crime Commission and the most recent National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) indicate relatively little improvement in citizens’ willingness to call the police when they have been victimized, despite substantial improvements in police recruitment standards and the implementation of community policing. Using data from a sample of women offenders in Minneapolis, who have a low probability of being included in a NCVS, the authors explore who reports crimes to the police and the reasons given for failing to report being victimized. The analyses are confined to crimes of violence perpetrated by intimates, acquaintances, and strangers. Findings indicate both that NCVS data underestimate the extent of non-reporting and that in a substantial number of cases the police failed to respond to citizens’ reports. The authors consider both the practical and theoretical significance of these findings.


Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment 

Lawrence W. Sherman and Richard A. Berk (1984) Police Foundation Report

Arresting an assailant in a domestic violence case significantly reduces the likelihood of future violence. In the first scientifically controlled test of the effects of arrest for any crime, arrest was found to be the most effective of three standard responses used by police when responding to cases of domestic violence.


Preventing Repeat Incidents of Family Violence: A Randomized Field Test of a Second Responder Program in Redlands, California

Robert C. Davis, David Weisburd, and Edwin E. Hamilton (December 2007) Police Foundation Report

This field test, conducted with the cooperation of the Redlands, CA, Police Department, sought to vary one of the parameters thought to affect the impact of second response programs. Victims who called the Redlands police with a domestic abuse complaint were randomly assigned (a) to receive a second response within 24 hours, (b) to receive a second response within seven days, or (c) to receive no second response. A check of police records and surveys with victims six months after the initial complaint was called did not indicate any reduction in new abuse resulting from any second response condition. The current findings, coupled with earlier research results, strongly suggest that second response programs are at best ineffective in reducing the potential for new abuse and at worst may increase the likelihood of new abusive incidents. Implications for criminal justice policy are discussed.


Richmond’s Second Responders: Partnering with Police Against Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a significant social problem in the U.S., where over 22 percent of women have suffered an attack by an intimate partner. Over the last two decades, scholars and practitioners have looked into ways to reduce the incidence of domestic violence. One of the strategies being explored employs a broader approach that is both multidisciplinary and multi-agency. This report examines the Richmond, Virginia, Second Responder program in which police summon social service caseworkers to the scene of domestic violence incidents to provide assistance and information to victims.


Spouse Abuse Research Raises New Questions About Police Response to Domestic Violence

Police Foundation Report (October 1992)

This study, one of several replications of the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment, examined the relationship between arrest of spouse abuse suspects and their subsequent recidivism. Deterrence seemed to be largely limited to employed suspects.