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Police response to same-sex intimate partner violence in the marriage equality era

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Dated: 2020
Date Published

This study examined police response to intimate partner violence (IPV) that involves same-sex couples, using arrest data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).


Research has increasingly focused on intimate partner violence (IPV) that involves sexual minority individuals, which is providing insights on its prevalence and disclosure patterns. Although this research has consistently found that sexual minority IPV victims are reluctant to report their victimization to police, little is known about police response to these victims. One unexplored area concerns how growing societal support and legal recognition of same-sex relationships might affect police response to IPV, such as arrest. This issue is timely, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage. Findings of the current study indicate a link between legal recognition of same-sex marriage and arrest in IPV cases for both male and female same-sex couples. Implications of these findings for policy and future research are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020