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Failure of Arrest to Deter Spouse Abuse

NCJ Number
134708
Journal
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 29 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1992) Pages: 7-33
Author(s)
J D Hirschel; I W Hutchinson III; C W Dean
Date Published
1992
Length
27 pages
Annotation
This article presents the methodology and results of an experiment in Charlotte, N.C., that tested the relative effectiveness of three police responses to spouse abuse: advising and possibly separating the couple, issuing a citation to the offender, and arresting the offender.
Abstract
North Carolina law gives police the authority to arrest a spouse abuser for a misdemeanor offense committed in the arresting officer's presence and also for a misdemeanor committed out of the officer's presence when the officer has probable cause to believe the offender committed a misdemeanor and either would not be apprehended unless immediately arrested or might cause physical injury to himself/herself or others or damage to property unless arrested immediately. The test experiment used the entire patrol force and operated citywide 24 hours a day. Cases that met specified eligibility criteria were randomly assigned to one of the three treatments; these cases were followed for at least 6 months to determine whether recidivism had occurred. Measures of recidivism were obtained through the use of both official police records and victims interviews. Analysis of prevalence, incidence, and time-to-failure rates indicated that arrest was no more effective than the other two treatments in deterring subsequent abuse. 7 tables, 9 notes, and 39 references

Date Published: January 1, 1992