This report summarizes the research programs and findings resulting from a research partnership established by the police department of Framingham, MA, and Social Science Research and Evaluation, Inc., in January 1997 to focus on issues related to policing innovations related to domestic assault.
The research on domestic violence included an experimental evaluation of the use of cellular telephones to enforce restraining orders and a study of differences among female victims of domestic violence who come to the attention of the police. Additional research focused on perceptions of the police by victims of domestic violence served by this suburban police agency and the role of social supports for victims of domestic violence. Results revealed that few women fit the stereotypic profile of a severely abused woman desperate to escape her abuser; instead, most victims had experienced less severe abuse. Results also indicated that most victims called for police help themselves, that victims’ had positive ratings of the helpfulness of the police, that the presence of helpful social supports was associated with several positive factors, and that social supports were not enough to resolve victims’ problems with domestic violence. Other research projects developed by the partnership focused on an officer exchange program planned by the Framingham and Chelsea police agencies, the broken-windows theory applied to highway safety, reducing the impact of non-emergency 911 calls, and organizational stress in police agencies. Figures, table, and 64 references