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Evaluating a Domestic Violence Program in a Community Policing Environment: Research Implementation Issues

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 43 Issue: 3 Dated: (July 1997) Pages: 279-297
Date Published
19 pages

The law enforcement response to domestic violence has changed dramatically in the past two decades, with the most recent changes resulting from community policing and its core elements of partnership and problem-solving, and the authors trace the impact of community policing values on the formation and operation of a domestic violence reduction program in Portland, Oregon.


In January 1990, the Portland City Council adopted a plan for an organization-wide transformation of its police department from a traditional model to a community policing model. The decision to allocate police resources to domestic violence intervention resulted from deliberations between the police department and institutions and individuals in the community. Once domestic violence was identified as a crime problem in need of police and community attention, the next step was the development of a plan to reduce it. The Domestic Violence Reduction Unit (DVRU) emerged as the solution to the domestic violence problem. The search for causes of domestic violence causes led police and community representatives to adopt a multilevel, multifactor theoretical model. At the individual offender level, a social learning approach was adopted. At the social level, domestic violence was viewed as embedded in a patriarchal structure. Domestic violence intervention in Portland was analyzed, strengths and weaknesses of previous efforts to prevent domestic violence were assessed, and ways of correcting shortcomings were identified. An evaluation of the DVRU showed that community support for the unit appeared to exist independently of the program's documented effectiveness. Differences between the police response to domestic violence in the context of traditional policing versus community policing are highlighted. Particular attention is paid to the role of research in police policy formation when community policing principles are implemented. 56 references and 8 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1997