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Violence Against Women: Synthesis of Research for Law Enforcement Officials

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
36 pages
Publication Series
In order to establish effective police policy guidelines in reducing violence against women, this federally funded report examines current police policy and practice in combating violence against women, presents empirical literature relating to police response to violence against women, and presents and discusses policy implications of the research literature.
Law enforcement’s role includes taking action to prevent violence, as well as attending to the needs of victims and taking action with regards to the offender. With this mission, three objectives for law enforcement can be derived as it relates to violence against women: (1) preventing violence against women; (2) attend to the health and safety needs of victims; and (3) develop strategies that hold offenders accountable. In this report conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, a synthesis of empirical research is presented in three sub-areas of violence against women: domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, indicating the best practice for police seeking to lesson the occurrence and impact of violence against women. In the area of domestic violence, empirical research is presented in police attitudes and training, victim preferences, victim substance use, repeat calls-predicting escalation of violence, danger to police, on-scene arrests, arrest with warrant, protection orders, coordinated responses, specialized domestic violence units, and prosecution enhancements. In the area of sexual assault, empirical research is presented in rape law reform, police attitudes and training, coordinated community response, and medical examination and forensic investigation. Lastly, in the area of stalking, empirical research is presented in risk assessment, danger of stalking, effectiveness of protective measures, stalking units, and victim assessment of police. The policy guidelines presented represent a best-practice approach based on the available research literature discussed and the overall objectives. General guidelines are presented as suggested by the research literature and include: (1) department policy needs to be clearly presented and supported by the administration; (2) thorough training, focusing on attitudes, law, and procedures; (3) roles of the police and Immigration and Naturalization Service need to be clarified due to the high immigrant population; and (4) the police need to ensure that all relevant evidence is collected. The report indicates that the results of research on the effectiveness of arrest in deterring subsequent abuse are unclear. In providing the most appropriate response, prior research does not supply clear answers. However, the research on domestic violence aids in pointing out inadequacies in the current response and suggests modifications to improve the existing situation. Notes, references

Date Published: December 1, 2000