This study of police response to spousal abuse in Charlotte, North Carolina, was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice to replicate and extend the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment.
The Charlotte project investigated the effectiveness of three police responses to spousal abuse: (1) advising and possibly separating the couple; (2) issuing a citation to the offender; and (3) arresting the offender. Random assignment procedures were employed to obtain equivalence among domestic violence cases in different experimental groups. The project received 686 eligible cases between 1987 and 1989. Police records and victim interviews were used to obtain data on acts of abuse. Most of the 686 cases were dispatched as domestics to a residence and were responded to by one or more police officers. Almost 50 percent of the cases involved married couples, while over 40 percent involved cohabitants. Victims tended to be in their late 20's, and offenders were in their early 30's. About two-thirds of victims and offenders were black, and similar proportions were currently employed. Contrary to the Minneapolis experiment, findings of prevalence, incidence, and time to failure data in the Charlotte experiment showed that arrest was not an effective deterrent to subsequent abuse. 29 references, 3 notes, and 2 tables
Date Published: January 1, 1996