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Pathways to police contact for spousal violence survivors: The role of individual and neighborhood factors in survivors' reporting behaviors

TitlePathways to police contact for spousal violence survivors: The role of individual and neighborhood factors in survivors' reporting behaviors
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBarrett, B. J., Peirone A., Cheung C. Ho, and Habibov N.
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
VolumeePub ahead of print
Keywordsintimate partner violence, law enforcement, policing, spousal violence
Abstract

Rational choice theory proposes that spousal violence survivors engage in a cost-benefit analysis when determining whether to contact the police in the aftermath of violence. Feminist intersectional frameworks contend that the perceived costs and benefits of police intervention differ among survivors based on their intersecting social identities. Normative theory further posits that it is not solely individual factors but also social norms derived from one's neighborhood context that may be related to reporting practices. Consistent with these perspectives, this study assessed the association between spousal violence survivors' sociodemographic, violence, and neighborhood characteristics and (a) police contact, (b) pathways to police contact, (c) motivations for contacting the police, and (d) motivations for not contacting the police. Data were drawn from the 2009 Canadian General Social Survey-Victimization main file, and included male and female survivors (N = 890). Survivors most commonly contacted the police to stop the violence (89.4%) and most commonly did not contact the police because they did not believe it was important enough (35.3%). Results of multivariate regression analysis indicate that survivors who were visible minority, those who feared for their lives, and those who were injured were significantly more likely to self-report violence to police. Survivors were more likely to say the violence was not important enough to report if there was a police station in their neighborhood, and were less likely to say that violence was not important enough to report if they had experienced multiple incidents of violence. Implications for policing and criminal justice system engagement with spousal violence survivors are provided.

URLhttp://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0886260517729400
DOI10.1177/0886260517729400