Lloyd Sealy Library                                                                                                                    John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Police Response to Spouse Abuse:
An Annotated Bibliography
by Nancy Egan



There have been major changes in the police response to spouse abuse since the 1976 International Association of Chiefs of Police directive stated that “wife abuse should not be considered a victimless crime” (Browne 1987, 168). In fact, many police departments have adopted pro-arrest or mandatory arrest policies for dealing with such incidents. In 1984, a report published by the United States Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence recommended that arrest be the preferred policy in dealing with domestic violence incidents. The results of a study published that same year, since referred to as “The Minneapolis Experiment,” concluded that arrest proved far more effective in curtailing repeat offenses of spouse abuse than did either advice or separation (Sherman and Berk 1984). While the authors of this landmark experiment recommended that presumptive arrest and not mandatory arrest policies be instituted based on their findings, the experiment has since been cited by many proponents of mandatory arrest policies. According to the results of subsequent studies, the Minneapolis Experiment has influenced police department arrest policies throughout the country (Binder & Meeker 1988; Cohn & Sherman 1986).

The following bibliography identifies a great deal of the literature which refers to police response policies and examines the authors’ recommendations. In many cases, the works cited concern themselves with broader or related issues and the issue of police response is a small part of the work. For this reason, some of these works are difficult to locate when researching the issue. This bibliography locates full works as well as small parts of works with regard to the issue. By providing both, this bibliography should help facilitate research and encourage the study of the problem and its solutions. The bibliography was prepared for use in the John Jay College Library. Locations and call numbers are provided. The few items that are listed and on order for the John Jay College Library are currently available at other Cuny Libraries and are noted accordingly.

There are three major police response policies discussed in the literature: 1) a mediative policy is a non-arrest policy in which the police act as peacemakers or even counselors at a scene, offering conversation or maintaining a presence until the offender calms down or the situation otherwise dissipates.  Part of this approach may also be to refer the offenders or victims to social agencies; 2) a pro-arrest (sometimes called presumptive, affirmative, or preferred) policy encourages arrest in domestic violence cases but leaves the discretion to the officers; and 3) a mandatory (sometimes called nondiscretionary) arrest policy dictates that arrest must take place whenever probable cause exists, even in misdemeanor offenses. 

The first section of the bibliography represents many of the major studies conducted on the issue. Two studies published prior to 1984 which took place in Kansas City and London, Ontario, are annotated as their results led researchers to believe that police intervention can have a significant impact on domestic dispute situations. These are followed by  annotations representing the Final Report of the Attorney General’s Task force on Family Violence, the Minneapolis Experiment, and two papers which point out the change in police policies subsequent to that experiment. Following these are major replication studies which include those funded by the National Institute of Justice. These latter experiments are collectively known as SARP--the Spouse Abuse Replication Program, and took place in Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Miami Dade, Omaha, Milwaukee, and Atlanta (the results from the Atlanta experiment have not yet been published).

The remaining sections of the bibliography are presented in order of type of recommendation for arrest: recommends against, does not recommend either for or against, and recommends. These are arranged alphabetically by entry. If an item appears in the section “does not recommend either for or against”, it does not mean that the authors represented here do not have an opinion as to whether arrest is an effective intervention. Their opinion, however, was not given in that particular work. In the “recommends” section, because some authors may recommend one type of arrest but recommend against another type of arrest, a letter in bold at the end of each annotation will refer to the type of arrest the author recommends.  The letter P stands for pro-arrest, M stands for mandatory, and A stands for a general reference to arrest. All of the works in these sections were published subsequent to the publications of the results of the Attorney General’s Task Force and of the Minneapolis Experiment.

In cases where a chapter as opposed to an entire book addresses the issue, the citation and annotation for the chapter is provided. In cases where smaller parts of a book address the police response issue, the citation for the entire book and annotation for that portion of the book which addresses the issue is provided. In these latter entries, the index terms at the back of that book, which one needs to use to located the material, are given at the end of the annotation.   

Major Studies

HV8148.D452 D65

1) Breedlove, R. K., Sandler, D. M., Kennish, J.W. & Sawtell, R. K. (1977).        
       Domestic violence and the police: Kansas City. In Domestic violence and the
: Studies in Detroit and  Kansas City (pp. 22-33). Washington, DC: Police

This study was undertaken to determine whether or not there was a relationship between prior domestic disturbances and subsequent homicides or aggravated assaults. Findings indicated that in the two years preceding any reported homicide or assault, police had been at the address at least once in 85% of the cases and at least five times in approximately 50% of the cases. In addition, the violence was preceded by threats in over 50% of the cases. These findings indicated that police do have a significant early warning system in these cases thereby allowing for better and effective intervention techniques.


Bound Periodicals

2) Burris, C. A., & Jaffe, P. (1983). Wife abuse as a crime: The impact of police
       laying charges. Canadian Journal of Criminology,25, 309-318.

The authors first describe the current police practices which (at the time)required minimal intervention. With the adoption of a pro-arrest policy by the London, Ontario Police Force, the researchers designed a pre-policy--post-policy study of police records to determine the effect that the policy had on police actions. The results indicated that charges in common assault for two six-month periods in the pre and post populations, rose from 0 to 36. In addition, the number of assault causing bodily harm charges rose from 6 to 32. The results also showed that as the severity of the charge increases, so does the offender’s number of past police incidents. The researchers concluded from this finding that either repeat interventions with the offenders were frustrating the police into laying charges or that the findings supported the theory that the type of violence escalates over time in domestic violence cases--particularly when there is not effective intervention. The researchers also concluded that police officers are willing to make arrests in these cases when they have clear policy guidelines. Graphs, references and tables are included.


HQ 809.3 .U5 U52

3) Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence. (1984). Final Report
       Washington, DC.: U. S. Government Printing Office.

This report is often considered one of the main reasons for changes in arrest policies in police departments across the country. The task force was initiated to respond to the growing awareness of the scope of the problem of family abuse and to help determine what the government’s role should be in combatting the problem. In addition to recommending certain coordinated criminal justice responses, the report makes certain recommendations specific to law enforcement personnel: 1) that written policies be instituted; 2) that arrest be considered the preferred response in these cases; 3) that all current orders of protection be kept track of; 4) that there be no delay in law enforcement response to these incidents; 5) that orders of protection be made available by the access of forms at all police and sheriff offices; and 6) that all violations of pre-trial release conditions be documented. A list of hearings and notes are included. 


Bound Periodicals

4) Sherman, L. W., & Berk, R. A. (1984). The specific deterrent effects of arrest for
       domestic assault. American Sociological Review, 49, 261-272.

This is the primary source for the Minneapolis Experiment. The experimentserves as a landmark in criminology. In addition to presenting results which supported victims’ advocates’ desires for an effective and tough alternative to law enforcement’s role in domestic abuse, this study has since demonstrated the impact that empirical research can have on police practice and policy. In this controlled experiment, any of three intervention strategies--arrest, separation, or mediation--were used at misdemeanor spouse abuse incidents. Although the authors admit that there may have been problems in the methodology, they maintain that it produced a large sample (314 cases) with apparently unbiased victim responses.  The results indicated that the majority of the incidents occurred among married couples with low educational backgrounds of largely minority or mixed race.  Both police record and victim interview outcome measures showed that of the three responses, arrest produced the lowest and separation the highest recidivism.  Jail time was so short in most of the cases that the authors maintained that incapacitation could not have been the reason for decreased repeat violence.  While the authors concluded that the findings demonstrate that arrest has an apparent deterrent effect, they suggest that presumptive arrest and not mandatory arrest policies be instituted.  Because they believe that arrest may work for some offenders and not all, the researchers felt that the police should still have some degree of discretion.  Notes, references, and tables are included.


HQ809.3.U5 S53

5) Cohn, E. G. & Sherman, L. W. (1986). Police policy on domestic violence, 1986: A
       national survey.
Washington, DC: Crime Control Institute.

The findings of a 1986 telephone survey of police departments in cities with populations over 100,000 are discussed and presented graphically in this report. According to the survey, 46% of the police departments had arrest policies in place for dealing with domestic violence.  This figure escalated since similar 1985 and 1984 surveys reported 31% and 10% respectively.  In addition, the figure of actual arrests also appeared to be rising as the 1986 survey suggested that the number of departments reporting more arrests in these cases was 47%, as opposed to 35% in 1985, and 24% in 1984. The authors suggest that the reasons for this increase in arrest policies can be attributed to several factors: 1) the Minneapolis Experiment; 2) the 1984 Attorney General’s Task Force report urging Police Chiefs to establish arrest as the preferred policy (see annotation no. 3); 3) changes in state laws; 4) highly publicized media events; and 5) successful lawsuits over police failure to make arrest.


Bound Periodicals

6) Binder, A. & Meeker, J. W. (1988). Experiments as reforms.  Journal of
       Criminal Justice, 16,

The authors cite the authors of the Crime Control Institute’s study’s findings (see annotation no. 5) and express their beliefs that the findings of the Minneapolis Experiment were the sole factor influencing the overwhelming change in police department policies.  They further point out that such uniform reliance is irresponsible and worrisome given  problems with external and internal validity in the Experiment, the fact that different jurisdictions have varying policies regarding incarceration subsequent to arrest (Minneapolis is unusual in that after arrest a suspect is kept in jail overnight. This may not be true in other jurisdictions), and that the alternatives introduced in the Experiment are not the only alternatives to arrest. They conclude that none of the sanctions introduced in the Minneapolis Experiment may represent the best social response. Notes, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

7) Berk, R. A. & Newton, P. (1985). Does arrest really deter wife battery? An effort
       to replicate the findings of the Minneapolis spouse abuse experiment. American
       Sociological Review, 50,

The authors try to replicate the findings in the Minneapolis Experiment. 783 Incidents of wife-battery in a California county are analyzed via post-test comparisons coupled with propensity analysis.  Findings illustrated that on the average, arrest has a dramatic deterrence effect on new battery incidents and that arrest is particularly effective on the type of batterers who the police would normally be inclined to arrest, while there were very small reductions in repeat incidents for low-propensity batterers.  There was no evidence that arrest creates repeat violence. Although the authors recommend further replication studies, they do suggest that presumptive arrest policies should probably be in place until evidence of other more effective interventions be disclosed.  In addition, they state that the “burden of proof” should be placed on those who do not recommend arrest as an intervention.  Graphs, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

8) Jaffe, P., Wolfe, D. A., Telford, A., & Austin, G. (1986). The impact of police
       charges in incidents of wife abuse. Journal of Family violence, 1, 37-49.

The authors designed a study to determine variations in arrest effectiveness in pre-policy versus post-policy samples.  The Solicitor General’s policy directive in 1982 directed police to lay charges in cases of spouse abuse when “facts and circumstances warrant this action”.  Pre-policy responses were derived from a previous report by the same authors (1981) and the post-policy population consisted of 73 women who had responded to written requests for interviews. Outside of the samples, the number of police charges was 12 in the pre-policy era and 298 in the post-policy era.  The results from the interviews forming the post-policy sample indicated that there was a decrease in repeat violence and that while arrest appears to be a strong deterrent, violence was not completely eliminated.  Although victim dissatisfaction decreased from 47% to 5.5%, the police showed mixed responses about the effectiveness of the policy.  There was an equal distribution of officers between those who thought the policy was definitely effective, those who thought it was not effective, or those who were uncertain.  In addition, the majority of the officers felt that the courts did not support the present policy. References and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

9) Dunford, F. W. (1992). The measurement of recidivism in cases of spouse assault.
       The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 83, 120-136.

This paper presents the findings of the Omaha replication study. Its methodology was similar to that of the Minneapolis Experiment except that in assessing recidivism in male batterers, a twelve month as well as a six month post-period  was measured (A report in which only a six month follow-up measure was used was originally published in Criminology, 28, 183-206). Minneapolis and the other replication studies used only a six month measure with the exception of the eight month measure used in the Atlanta study. Results from the current study found that in the six month follow-up, as well as the second six month period, arrest proved to be no more or no less of a deterrent than the other interventions. In the second six months, recidivism levels decrease; however, incidents during this time period were by new offenders (not the same offenders from the first six months). The author concludes that while there may be no difference in recidivism based on intervention method, the previous tendency to use a six month period to measure repeat violence in empirical research, may have underestimated all repeat violence.  Graphs, notes, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

10) Sherman, L. W., Schmidt, J. D., Rogan, D. P., Smith, D. A., Gartin, P. R., Cohn,
         E. G., Collins, D. J., & Bacich, A. R. (1992). The variable effects of arrest on
         criminal careers: The Milwaukee domestic violence experiment. The Journal
         of Criminal Law & Criminology, 83,

The authors of this replication study discuss the theory shared by many mandatory arrest advocates which suggests that police arrest far less in cases of domestic violence than in other types of crime. Their review of the literature, however, demonstrates that underenforcement is quite prevalent in all areas of crime.  The replication study took place in four Milwaukee police districts.  Its intervention treatments consisted of no arrest and two different arrest times--short arrest which was on the average two hours long, and standard arrest based on a mandatory  policy.  The findings showed an initial deterrent effect in both short and full term arrest treatments. After a thirty-day period, the prevalence of repeat violence was lower for both arrest groups; however, the frequency per case was only lower for short arrest offenders.  The findings also showed that there is no long-term deterrence from arrest and that in fact there is evidence of escalation in both frequency and prevalence of violence in short arrest offenders.  The worst escalation effect was among unemployed suspects.  The authors claim that the findings may imply a need for other approachesto intervention in domestic violence.  Graphs, notes, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodical

11) Berk, R. A., Campbell, A., Klap, R., & Western, B. (1992). A Bayesian analysis
         of the Colorado Springs spouse abuse experiment. The Journal of Criminal
         Law & Criminology, 83,

The researchers in this replication study first describe the Omaha (see annotation no. 9) and Milwaukee (see annotation no. 10) replications as the data from these studies is taken into account when analyzing the results of the current study.  Four treatments were used in this experiment: 1) emergency order of protection for the victim and suspect arrest; 2) emergency order of protection for the victim and crisis counseling for the suspect; 3) order of protection alone; and 4) restoring order to the scene.  Follow-up data were derived from police records and victim interviews. The researchers’ primary consideration was to determine whether different treatments had effects on different types of suspects--particularly employed suspects.  A Bayesian analysis of the data from this and the other studies showed that arrest has a deterrent effect for a large set of “good risk” suspects, but that there is a tendency toward increased violence in “bad risk” suspects. The authors suggest that arrest be coupled with additional measures to protect victims, and that several alternatives be considered, as there is never any one policy for social problems.  Similarly, they urge that none of the findings from these replication studies be considered definitive. Graphs, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

12) Hirschel, J. D. & Hutchison III, I. W. (1992). Female spouse abuse and the
         police response: The Charlotte, North Carolina experiment. The Journal of
         Criminal Law & Criminology, 83,

Similar in design to its counterparts, the results of this replication study found that in cases of misdemeanor spouse assault, arrest was not a significant deterrent and no more of a deterrent than an advise/separate treatment or the issuance of a citation. While neither follow-up interviews nor police records of repeat offenses supported the arrest as a deterrent theory, information derived from interviews shows a much higher prevalence in rates of recidivism in all cases than found in the official police data. The authors conclude that in spite of the failure of arrest to act as a deterrent in misdemeanor spouse assault cases, it may still provide the appropriate response to these incidents as non-arrest would convey the wrong message to offenders, victims, their children, and society in general. Charts, notes, references and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

13) Pate, A. M. & Hamilton, E. E. (1992). Formal and informal deterrents to
         domestic violence: The Dade County spouse assault experiment. American
         Sociological Review, 57,
691- 697.

In this replication study of the Minneapolis Experiment, the researchers’ intent was to determine whether employment or marital status influenced the effect that arrest had on offenders. A sample of misdemeanor battery cases were randomly assigned different treatments--no arrest or arrest. Although in total there appeared to be no significant difference in offender recidivism as a result of the two treatments, when breaking down the results based on employment status, arrest seemed to have a significant deterrent effect on employed offenders but a significant repeat violence effect on unemployed offenders. There appeared to be no significant difference with respect to marital status. The authors conclude from these findings that the varying deterrent effects suggested by these and the findings of other replication studies, should be taken into account when developing policy, and call for further research. Graphs, references, and tables are included.



Fiche and Bound Periodicals

14) Conrad, M. & Jahn, T. M. (1985). The family stress team approach in curbing
         domestic violence. The Police Chief, 52,  (6) 66-67.

At the time of the article’s publication, Arizona was the second fastest growing state in the country and the influx of people to Phoenix was resulting in an increase in domestic violence calls.  The Phoenix police department responded by beginning the “Family Stress Team”, whose mission was to prevent family breakdown by helping the families to deal with stress, to provide on-site crisis intervention to reduce the recurrence of calls, and to reduce the amount of time spent on these calls by officers. Teams are composed of professional staff and volunteers from community mental health centers and are backed up by officers when there is any sign of jeopardy. At times when the teams are not available, officers are encouraged to leave referral cards in the team offices so that teams can later contact the families. The writers claim that the program has been a success as it has reduced the number of calls and the time that police have to spend on these calls.


On order at John Jay
Currently available at other Cuny Libraries, check catalog
HV6250.4.W65 V553

15) Crime Control Institute. (1994). Arresting abusers may not be effective at
         decreasing domestic violence. In K. L. Swisher & C. Wekesser (Eds.),
         Violence Against Women (pp. 105-114).  San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press.

According to this report, there has been a 70% growth in the arrest rate for simple assault since the 1984 publication of the Minneapolis Experiment. This paper discusses the effects of arrest time, describes some of the findings in the Milwaukee replication experiment and supports the theory that a little arrest time can have a worse effect on offender recidivism than no arrest time. It does, however, suggest that this is probably not true for all offenders and that proper policy analysis should include offender variables such as employment status and personality type.


HQ809.3.U5 U5

16) Feldberg, M. (1985). Police discretion and family disturbances:  Some historical
         and contemporary reflections. In E. H. Newberger & R. Bourne (Eds.),
         Unhappy families: Clinical and  research perspectives on family violence (pp.
         121-130). Littleton, MA: PSG Publishing.

The author declares that mandatory arrest policies greatly inhibit police discretion and many officers do not like this restriction of their options. The author identifies four styles of response that police use during domestic violence calls: the avoidance response, which may encompass threatening to arrest everybody if they don’t settle down, the punishment response, which historically translated into police brutality, the negotiation style, which includes mediation, and the professional detached response, which differs from negotiation in that the officer tries to take the focus off the crisis. The author concludes that as long as the police do not trust the courts to follow through on these cases, most officers will adopt one of the first two responses, and if there are no social services supporting their actions, they will adopt either the third or fourth response. He therefore suggests that other professions become more actively involved as nonsupport would lead to more mandatory arrest laws.  References are included.



17) Ford, D. A. (1991). Preventing and provoking wife battery through criminal
         sanctioning: A look at the risks.  In D. D. Knudsen & J. L. Miller (Eds.),
         Abused and battered: Social  and legal responses to family violence (pp.
         191-209). New York: A. de Gruyter.

This author takes the position that while policy should reflect research, it should also be sensitive to individual victims. The study compares the risk to the victim in warrantless arrest by police as opposed to victim complaint prosecution. In the latter cases, risk to victim as a result of bringing the batterer to court--by summons or by warrant, as well as reactions based on four outcomes: case dismissal, pretrial diversion to counseling, sentencing to counseling as a condition of probation, and sentencing to other sanctions, are compared. The sample in the study consisted of 512 cases that had been settled for at least six months, and the methodology used was interviewing both victims and offenders. The results showed that given the alternative entry experience, there are no significant differences in reprisal by the offender and that there is a low incidence of retaliation. In addition, there is no difference between warrant or summons in inciting anger. However, subsequent to the case settlement, the four types of outcomes were judged to have varying effects on offender retaliation. Of those arrested at the scene, 40% battered their victims again within six months.  The author recommends procedures that minimize anger such as warrant arrest or pretrial diversion to anger control counseling. Notes and tables are included.



18) Manning, P. K. (1996). The preventive conceit: The black box in market context.
         In E. S. Buzawa & C. G. Buzawa (Eds.), Do arrests and restraining orders
(pp. 83-97). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

The author argues that 1) an erroneous belief by police in arrest as a means of crime control and 2) market pressures put on police, led to the increases in arrests in domestic violence incidents. Arrest as a means of crime control has moved away from the idea of arrest as a prevention or a deterrent of crime and moved toward the idea of arrest as a means of control or revenge. The theory that arrest has a deterrent effect on repeat assault was derived from far too little empirical research (the Minneapolis  Experiment). The author believes that this research had such a vast impact on policy because policing has succumbed to many external market factors like the media, political and social consequences, legal liabilities, and budgetary considerations. References are included.   




19) Abul, E. M. & Suh, E. K. (1987). Use of police services by battered women.
         Social Work, 32, 526-528.

Using a questionnaire to survey 300 battered women in a shelter in Orlando, Florida, the researchers sought to determine the reasons why victims ask for police intervention. The study looked at several independent variables: duration of beating, spouse arrest record, victim arrest record, victim employment, spouse employment, number of children, means of assault, victim’s protection of self, emotional reactions of victim to abuse, type of injury incurred by victim, victim’s plans, and victim’s education. The study found that there were some variables which related significantly to whether or not the victim called the police. Those factors which motivated the victim to call the police were a long duration of beating, a high education level of the victim, a greater sense of self preservation displayed by the victim, and a greater emotional reaction to the beating displayed by the victim. There were no significant correlations between the other variables and the victim calling the police. The study also found that as abusive situations escalated the victims were more likely to call community services. From this, the researchers conclude that the police should be trained to facilitate early intervention in these situations and that ongoing cooperation between the police and social services should be encouraged. Notes, references and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals and Film

20) Baker, W. D. (1995). Prevention: A new approach to domestic  violence. FBI
         Law Enforcement Bulletin, 64,(9)

The article describes the “Violence Prevention Program” of Framingham, Massachusetts, developed by the police department, local educators, and social service members there. Local law enforcement officials felt that any police response may have been inadequate as the issue is one that should be addressed prior to incident, not subsequent. The program was designed to educate seventh and eighth grade students in family dynamics and identifying abuse. A follow-up survey showed that the majority of the students felt the curriculum would help prevent violence in current as well as future relationships and also identified school as an appropriate place to learn about domestic violence and abuse. Notes are included.


Bound Periodicals

21) Belknap, J. & McCall, K. D. (1994). Women battering and police referrals.
         Journal of Criminal Justice, 22, 223-236.

The authors feel that previous research on the impact of arrest, or the use of arrest as a deterrent in domestic violence cases has detracted from police officers’ alternate roles or responses in these cases. While many researchers see referrals as an evasive technique used in place of arrest, the authors see referral to social service agencies--regardless of the arrest decision--as useful to all parties. A study was designed to determine the number and types of referrals used by police and whether any personal characteristics determine officers’ use of referral. Findings from questionnaires completed by 324 law enforcement officers in a large midwestern area, showed that almost three quarters of the officers made referrals--the most popular being the women victims’ hotline--an organization which provides victims with counseling options and a court advocate, and is affiliated with a women’s shelter. The most important predictor of this response was departmental affiliation (sheriff’s officers were more likely to refer than the urban police officers) and education (more education increased the likelihood that they would refer). Age, race, rank, experience, and shift did not seem to effect decision. The findings suggest that more training and policy guidelines could encourage referrals. Notes, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals
K12. A93

22) Berk, R. A., Berk, S. F., Newton, P. J., & Loseke, D. R. (1984). Cops on call:
         Summoning the police to the scene of spousal violence. Law & Society Review,

The authors prepared a study to determine the factors which affected the likelihood of both victims or bystanders calling the police in domestic violence situations.  Data for the study was derived from interviews with 201 female abuse victims from local shelters, assistance programs, or other public agencies in Santa Barbara, California.  Attitudinal factors which precluded victims from calling the police included being worried that calling the police would make the violence worse after the police left, that it would worsen the relationship, or that their families would disapprove. Victims were more likely to call the police if the abuser was a repeat offender, the victim had previously called the police, children or other family members were present, or if the abuser was a boyfriend rather than a husband. The more education the offender had, the less likely it was that the victim would call the police. Race and degree of injury appeared to have no impact. As for bystanders, the factors which most influence their decision to call were the presence of other witnesses, the severity of injury, and the destruction of property.  Marital status or race did not seem to affect the bystander’s decision. In addition, as in the case of the victims, each level of education attained by the offender decreased the chances of a bystander calling the police. References and tables are included.


HQ809.3 .U5 C67

23) Berk, R. A., Fenstermaker, S., & Newton, P. J. (1988). An empirical analysis of
         police responses to incidents of wife battery. In G. T. Hotaling, D. Finkelhor, J.
         T. Kirkpatrick, & M. A. Straus (Eds.), Coping with family violence: Research 
         and policy perspectives
(pp. 158-168). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

The authors maintain that most of the literature describing police response in wife abuse cases holds a negative view of the police. They therefore devised a study which was to determine whether the range of actions taken by police--arrest, separation, or mediation--is affected by extralegal factors present at the scene. The data was derived from victim interviews performed at shelters. Overall, the findings showed that arrest was used in about half of the incidents even though there were injuries in about 80% of the cases. They also found that officers were more apt to arrest if the offender was drunk or if the victim was obviously injured. Some questionable factors such as whether the couple was racially mixed or if the police had a different ethnic background then the offender (same ethnicity resulted in a greater chance of arrest) also seemed to influence police behavior. Who called the police or whether or not the couple were married appeared to have no influence on the decision. The authors concluded that they believed extralegal factors will always have an effect on response and that these should probably be singled out for special concern and further research. Notes, references, and tables are included.


HQ809.3.U5 B65

24) Bolton, F. G. & Bolton, S. R. (1987). The legal environment of conjugal violence.
         In Working with violent families: a guide  for clinical and legal practitioners
         (pp. 216-228). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

In this reference guide, this chapter offers succinct descriptions of both sides of the response issue--arrest versus conciliation (mediation). While the authors recognize that the law enforcement model has been changing, they argue that mediation will continue to be used.  In addition, they maintain that the solution to this violence is not to be found in the criminal justice system but rather in changes in societal values. The second part of the chapter discusses conjugal homicide and the use of expert witnesses to support self-defense pleas and to describe “battered woman’s syndrome”. References are included.



25) Bowker, L. H. (1986). Law enforcement. In Ending the violence: A guidebook
         based on the experience of 1000 battered wives
(pp. 56-65). Holmes Beach, FL:
         Learning Publications.

The author points out that calling the police differs in three ways from calling elsewhere for help: 1) their advice to the batterer is not suggestive, but rather prescriptive; 2) they deal directly with the abuser; and 3) their activities are public--for many batterers this is more of a threat than imprisonment. The study’s findings showed that in only half of the cases did officers provide any real service. Some of the less effective or blatantly inadequate police responses are quoted. In addition, women rated help received from the police and from the district attorneys as only adequate, whereas help received from lawyers in private practice or in legal aid clinics was rated much higher. The author concludes by advising that victims who begin a case with the District Attorney should follow through.


HQ809.3.U5 C67

26) Buzawa, E. S. (1988). Explaining variations in police response to domestic
         violence: A case study in Detroit and New England.  In G. T. Hotaling, D.
         Finkelhor, J. T. Kirkpatrick, and M. A. Straus (Eds.), Coping with family
         violence: Research and policy perspectives
(pp. 169-182). Newbury Park, CA:
         Sage Publications.

The author developed a study to examine the differences in attitudes between officers in a large city department (Detroit) and in smaller police departments (9 small to medium sized departments in New England), as a result of changes in arrest policy legislation. The study used command officer interviews and officer questionnaires to derive responses.  Among her findings were that, in Detroit, officers show a much more activist approach to domestic violence situations, and that there has been a marked increase in the number of cases where an officer would make an arrest. This latter was also true in New England, but to a lesser degree. Also, there were differences in the arrest percentages throughout the New England departments. The researcher believes this may be a result of several different factors including chiefs’ attitudes toward arrest and exposure to training programs. She also found that, in Detroit, the older officers were more active in their responses, where just the opposite was true in New Hampshire.  She concluded that police attitudes overall are not as negative to new arrest policies as originally thought and that there are differences in response rates among departments. References are included.



27) Caputo, R. K. (1991). Police classification of domestic violence calls: An
         assessment of program impact. In D. D. Knudsen and J. L. Miller (Ed.) Abused
         and battered: Social and legal responses to family violence
(pp. 147-151). New
         York: A. de Gruyter.

This represents a portion of a study done in four police districts in Chicago in the mid-1980’s and outlines the program’s efforts to encourage police to accurately report domestic violence incidents. The program was designed to help indicate what percentage of domestic violence calls were referred to program staff by police as mandated by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1982. The author maintains that, in general, police respond to these calls reluctantly. From the results of the study he recommended that a formal relationship be established between police and a domestic violence program, that verified domestic violence calls be monitored more closely than usual, that implementing intervention programs should be done over a period of time--probably a 3 to 5 year period, and that police should take advantage of community social and legal services.


Film and Bound Periodicals

28) Davis, R. C. & Smith, B. (1995). Domestic violence reforms: Empty promises or
         fulfilled expectations. Crime & Delinquency, 41, 541-552.

The authors claim that many victims’ advocates and women’s rights advocates called for removing the responsibility of arrest and prosecution from the victims. As a result, mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies developed. The new arrest policies were looked on favorably by victims’ advocates as it was believed that this would protect victims from retaliation by their abusers; however, problems with the methodology of the Minneapolis Experiment and negative findings in the replication studies, tended to reduce the belief in the effectiveness of mandatory arrest policies and have shifted discretion from the police to the prosecutors. Under no-drop prosecution policies, prosecutors are obliged to try those cases in which the victims have dropped charges. They maintain that this is an enormous undertaking and while still in its infancy, the research on these policies is not encouraging. The authors also discuss two other reforms--increased use of restraining orders and batterers’ treatment programs--and conclude that no single solution is universal or simple. References are included.



29) Dutton, D. G. (1995). The criminal justice response. In The  domestic assault of
         women: Psychological and criminal justice  perspectives
(pp. 218-249). (rev.
         and exp. ed.). Vancouver: UBC Press.

The author names victim failure to report as the single greatest obstacle to an effective criminal justice response.  He maintains that society underestimates the seriousness of violence between intimates and that police, as part of society, bring similar attitudes to incidents. Both hypothetical and observational studies are presented which address determinants of arrest. The author also cites findings in studies dealing with police attendance, police reports, arrests, convictions, prosecutions, restraining orders, arrest records, as well as the probabilities of assault being reported in wife assault cases versus other crimes. In a discussion of the probability of arrest reducing future assaults, the author provides an unbiased presentation of all the major studies in these areas and concludes that while there may be some evidence of deterrence of future assault through the use of arrest, it does not provide the answer to social control. In addition, he points out that arrest probably does not work for offenders who have nothing to lose by being arrested. Charts, notes and tables are included.


Film and Bound Periodicals

30) Finn, M. A. & Stalans, L. J. (1995). Police referrals to shelters and mental healt
         treatment: Examining their  decisions in domestic assault cases. Crime &
         Delinquency, 41,

This study was designed to determine the factors which influenced police inference of a domestic violence situation and the likelihood of their making referrals to shelters and mental health facilities. The authors maintain that while police are the primary sources of referrals in most of these cases, they often ignore policies which mandate referral for various reasons. In a North Georgia training center, 257 officers were given scripts and asked several close-ended questions designed to determine whether the police decisions were influenced by the husband’s mental state, the presence of injuries, and antagonism between disputants.  The study found that in cases where husbands suffered from hallucinations, or the wife suffered visible injury, officers were more likely to assign blame to the husband and thereby more likely to make shelter referrals for the victims. In addition, they were more likely to make referrals for batterers to mental health facilities when they inferred that the wife had more control over her actions than her husband had over his. Antagonism did not seem to affect officers’ referral decisions. The authors maintain that officers are reluctant to make such referrals but that such information should be provided to the victims as this would increase the likelihood of victim cooperation with legal proceedings. Training and guidelines should encourage officers to provide this information. Notes, references, and tables are included.



31) Garner, J. & Clemmer, E. (1986). Danger to police in domestic disturbance: A
         new look.
Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.

The authors of this report seek to refute the previous research which finds that police intervention in domestic disputes accounts for such a large proportion of feloniously killed or assaulted officers in the United States. They claim that the FBI classification of disturbance which was considered the third most dangerous type of call for officers between the years 1960 and 1984 is erroneously interpreted to mean domestic disturbance but does in fact include bar fights, gang calls, general disturbances, and citizens with a firearm. After a reclassification, the FBI showed that only 5.7% of all officer deaths were as a result of answering domestic disturbance calls. The researchers still maintain, however, that these calls pose many types of dangers and take up much time, but this shift in the homicide rate may remove one of the factors that prohibited effective strategy development. Policies should perhaps now focus more on police response to victim needs and less on safety measures. Charts, notes, references and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

32) Garner, J., Fagan, J., & Maxwell, C. (1995). Published findings  from the spouse
         assault replication program: A critical review. Journal of Quantitative
         Criminology, 11,

The authors summarize the findings of the Spouse Assault Replication Experiments in Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Dade County, Milwaukee, and Omaha.  The results from these experiments are compared on the basis of several common criteria (official reports and victim reports of repeat violence by the same offender to the same victim in cases of arrest intervention or nonarrest interventions, frequency rates of reoffending and time to first failure). While the data is presented side by side in several tables, the authors warn that inconsistency in both outcome measures and analysis of results makes comparison of the experiments’ findings difficult. In addition, they maintain that common analysis of the outcomes and outside analysis of the experiments’ soundness be performed in order to begin to gain a better understanding of the response issue.


HQ809.3.U5 G4424

33) Gelles, R. J., & Straus, M. A. (1988). Compassion or control: Legal, social, and
         medical services. In Intimate violence  (pp. 160-182). New York: Simon &

The authors discuss the impact of the Minneapolis Experiment on criminal justice policy and postulate that perhaps the move from traditional unresponsiveness to control was too swift. The paper points out that while the bulk of the research on child abuse calls for social welfare intervention, nearly all the literature on wife abuse calls for police and criminal justice intervention. While the stigma of arrest and the threat of exposure may serve as a deterrent, mandatory arrest policies disempower the victims as they take the control of the situation out of their hands.  The authors conclude by affirming their belief in a mix of both control and compassionate interventions. Appendices, graphs, and notes are included.


LD1 no. 137

34) Johnson, I. M. (1987). Wife abuse: Factors predictive of the decision-making
         process of battered women.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida State
         University, Tallahassee, FL.

The author attempts to discern the factors which make battered women stay or return to their abusers. The staff from the Spouse Abuse Shelter of Clearwater, Florida completed intake/departure forms for 426 women at the shelter. The analysis of economic and psychological factors included a breakdown of police responses to the situation to gauge whether or not the poor response was a factor which influenced the victim’s decision to stay with her abuser. Variables from the legal intervention index were: written police reports, police referrals, written notice of rights, information from states attorney’s office, information on orders of protection, arrest of abuser, investigation made, and prosecution of batterer. Among the factors which seemed to determine the victim’s decision to stay was the victim’s source of income and her perception of the future expectations of a support system. The results were that legal intervention had no discernible effect on the victim’s decision and therefore do not support the theories of other researchers who claim that women return because of inadequate criminal justice services. References and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

35) Klinger, D. A. (1995). Policing spousal assault. Journal of  Research in Crime
         and Delinquency, 32,

The author tests the theory that states police are more lenient in spouse abuse cases than in stranger violence cases. He claims that previous research supporting this theory did not meet certain requirements. He believes that samples should include only dating, cohabitating, married, estranged and former heterosexual couples, and that the object should be criminal violence, not disputes. In this study, trained civilians rode with officers in the Metro-Dade Police Department. The study took place in the mid 1980s, and there was no law or policy which mandated arrest in this department. The results found that there was no statistically significant difference in the arrest rate between spousal assault and other cases. The author points out, however, that certain situational factors may influence police action in all cases and additional research is needed in this area. Notes, references, and tables are included.


HQ809.3.U5 V59

36) Landes, A., Jacobs, N. P., & Siegel, M. A. (Eds.). (1995).  Abuse and the judicial
         system. In Violent relationships:  Battering and abuse among adults (pp.
         68-93). (rev. ed.). Wylie, TX: Information Plus.

Part of the Information Plus series, these volumes serve as reference tools for pertinent and current information on their applicable topics. Backed up heavily with statistics, the paper begins with a presentation of the demographic characteristics of those victims most likely to call the police. The researchers then point out that as the police do not like to handle these calls, many police departments have adopted programs and  general orders to ensure consistency.  The paper then discusses mandatory arrest as influenced by the Minneapolis Experiment and the possible shortcomings of  adopting such a policy.  Discussions on the equal protection issue and problems in the court system are followed by a debate on mandatory arrest by noted researchers from several fields, thus underscoring the incidence of debate with regard to this topic. Graphs and tables are included.


LD1 no. 1601

37) Marciniak, E. M. (1994). Community policing of domestic violence:
         Neighborhood difference in the effect of arrest.
Unpublished doctoral
         dissertation. University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD.

The author of the dissertation (written under the direction of Lawrence W. Sherman, one of the pioneers of the Minneapolis Experiment) took the data from one of the replication studies (Milwaukee) and comparing it to the census tract data in that city, sought to determine whether or not arrest had any effect on recidivism in relation to community characteristics. The findings showed that of those arrested,  there was a higher recidivism rate among offenders from community areas with high levels of family disruption and unemployment. Alternatively, among those not arrested, there was a higher recidivism rate among offenders from community areas with low levels of family disruption and high employment. She recommends that as offenders from different communities may respond differently to arrest, more research is needed in this area. Notes, references, and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

38) McCord, J. (1992). Deterrence of domestic violence: A critical view of research.
         Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 29, 229-239.

The author engages in a critical review of the research which stemmed from the Minneapolis Experiment. She maintains that prior to that study, police behavior was dictated largely by hunch and rumors, but subsequent studies take too narrow a view of the problem and do not set broad enough goals. The latter should include interventions which do more than merely stop the abuse. Rather, they should encompass efforts to stop other forms of degradation. In addition, more consideration should be given to the motivating factors of domestic violence and the effectiveness of alternative treatments. In conclusion, she expresses doubt as to whether there has been any progress in the prevention of domestic violence during the past 50 years.


Bound Periodicals

39) Saunders, D. G. (1995). The tendency to arrest victims of  domestic violence: A
         preliminary analysis of officer characteristics. Journal of Interpersonal |
         Violence, 10,

This study addresses the incidence of and the factors which influence victim arrest in cases of domestic violence.  The author maintains that many researchers fear that the adoption of mandatory arrest policies may increase the tendency to arrest victims and are therefore having second thoughts about these policies. Advocates fear a “backlash” may occur among officers who resent nondiscretionary policies. The author questioned 111 officers from 10 Wisconsin police departments, offering them two different vignettes in which the women were obviously abused. In one; however, the victim continued to argue with the offender in the officers’ presence. The results showed that the likelihood of the nonargumentative victim being arrested is 1.53% and the argumentative victim being arrested is 10.58%. Those officers most likely to arrest the victim believed that violence is justified in cases of infidelity, and less likely to believe that victims stay for practical reasons. These officers also expressed discomfort in dealing with battered women. Rank, years of policing, former career, and orientation to police work had no significant bearing on the likelihood of victim arrest. References and tables are included.


HQ809.3.U5 S529

40) Sherman, L. W. (1988). Domestic violence.  Washington, DC: National Institute
         of Justice.

After citing the reasons why police don’t make arrests in these cases, this author--one of the pioneers of the Minneapolis Experiment--discusses that experiment and the believability of the findings when certain unknown factors are taken into account.  He goes on to explain that there are difficulties in making policy on the basis of one single experiment and recommends replication studies. However, he maintains that even if the police did not want to change policy based on the little empirical research  available, court decisions are making it more and more necessary to take some kind of intervention action as many successful lawsuits have maintained that police are negligent in not arresting in many cases. This presents an interesting perspective as it urges a conservative approach to policy change from the author whose experiment may have had radical effects on policy. References are included.


Bound Periodicals

41) Sherman, L. W. (1992). The influence of criminology on criminal  law: Evaluating
         arrests for misdemeanor domestic violence. The Journal of Criminal Law & 
         Criminology, 83,

The pioneer of the Minneapolis Experiment opens up the Domestic Violence Symposium issue of this journal with a discussion of that experiment, the replication studies, and their influence on criminal law and law enforcement policy.  His report begins with a lengthy discussion on the roots of empirical experimentation in this field and a rationale for its usefulness.  In discussing the landmark experiment, he points out that the authors of the study did not recommend mandatory arrest but rather a preferred arrest policy and that they also recommended replication studies as they felt the effects should be tested in relation to varying demographic groups.  He maintains that it is difficult to measure the influence that this study had on policy as there were other factors at the time which may have exerted influence.  He does, however, attribute the recommendations of that study to having influenced the funding for the replication studies. He then summarizes the results of the replication studies and asserts that those authors who point out the mistakes in the methodology of these experiments but not the mistakes in the Minneapolis Experiment display a bias.  He believes that the diversity of answers in these studies demonstrates a need for further analysis.  Based on community policing principals, he believes that different policies for different neighborhoods may be acceptable. He concludes that studies which support popular opinion are more apt to be accepted than studies which do not support popular opinion. Notes, references and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals
H1. A472

42) Stalans, L. J. (1996). Family harmony or individual protection? Public
         recommendations about how police can handle domestic violence situations.
         American Behavioral Scientist, 39, 433-448.

This study was designed to gauge the attitudes that the public holds about how the criminal justice system should handle domestic violence situations. One hundred and fifty seven adult residents from the Fulton County, Georgia jury pool were given a domestic violence scenario where certain variables--victim’s injury, antagonism between disputants, and wife’s mental state--were manipulated. The findings indicated that the public considers this type of violence a wrongful act which can’t be justified and that women generally only engage in such activity in self-defense. As for how the public would like the police to handle the situation, the majority of respondents preferred informal advice or do nothing if there were no visible injuries or if there were only moderate injuries displayed. In terms of respondents’ personal characteristics, education level was the only factor that seemed to influence an arrest recommendation. The more education the respondent had, the more likely they were to recommend arrest. The desire for arrest increases when more blame is attributed to the offender and decreases when it is perceived that the offender is acting in self defense. The public also preferred arrest in cases where they felt the courts would be more effective. In conclusion, the author points out that although the public sees this type of violence as a crime and that victims should be protected, they still believe in family harmony and prefer referral to counseling over arrest and prosecution. Notes, references and tables are included.


Film and Bound Periodicals

43) Stalans, L. J. & Lurigio, A. J. (1995). Responding to domestic violence against
         women. Crime & Delinquency, 41, 387-398.

Two prominent perspectives on domestic violence are discussed. The first is the family violence perspective, which uses the family as the unit of analysis and maintains that women and men engage in violence equally. The second is the feminist perspective, in which the unit of analysis is the male-female relationship and encompasses all forms of violence against women. In the historical context, the feminist position is supported by centuries of laws and social norms which perpetuated violence against women. In the last few decades, laws which give officers more power to arrest and less discretion were brought about by the influence of feminism, court cases, and empirical findings. The authors argue; however, that even mandatory arrest laws give officers discretion because of the ambiguity in establishing probable cause. In addition, they maintain that neither mandatory nor pro-arrest policies have resulted in equal protection under the law.  While arrest policies result in higher rates of arrest, studies have not addressed victim satisfaction with the system.  In addition, more arrests only come about in systems where there are coordinated responses involving other arms of the criminal justice system. References are included.



44) Stanko, E. A. (1988). Fear of crime and the myth of the safe home: A feminist
         critique of criminology. In K. Yllo & M. Bograd (Eds.), Feminist perspectives
         on wife abuse
(pp. 75- 88). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

The author, a feminist activist and criminologist, maintains that the public domain is predominantly men’s and the private domain, or the home, is women’s. The latter holds a subordinate position in society. Criminologists associated public space with danger and private space with safety. The theoretical framework surrounding the study of fear is therefore masculinist as it focuses on the public sphere. The lack of police reporting of domestic violence underestimated the incidence of these assaults. As victimization studies gained popularity in the 1980’s, the estimates became more accurate. Reluctance to report by many victims for fear of retribution and the belief that the private domain as a sanctuary perpetuated the underreporting and inadequate addressing of this issue.


Fiche and Bound Periodicals

45) Steinman, M. (1990). Lowering recidivism among men who batter women.
         Journal of Police Science and Administration, 17,124-132.

This study examines the effects that coordinated efforts from public and private agencies may have on recidivism among men who batter women. The cases used for the sample were derived from a population in Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska where Domestic Violence Coalition Meetings are held with representatives from the police, county attorney’s office, public defender’s office, and counseling agencies, since the inception of the county’s mandatory arrest policy in 1986. The study surveyed victims from both the pre-Coalition and Coalition cases and found that more offenders were charged and fewer charges dropped during the Coalition phase. In addition, there was considerably less recidivism in these cases. The author concluded from his findings that coordinated efforts are much more effective than police action alone.  He does qualify this conclusion, however, by pointing out that intervention by poorly trained police can actually produce more violence in the offender and that even coordinated efforts do not often help among batterers with criminal records. References and tables are included.


Bound Periodicals

46) Waaland, P. & Keeley, S. (1985). Police decision making in wife abuse: The
         impact of legal and extralegal factors. Law and  Human Behavior, 9, 355-366.

The authors maintain that previous research on this topic may be misleading as it is often based on samples which are made up of calls deemed serious enough for officers’ attention. Also, many of the studies are outdated and reflect police activity under old policies. The authors designed a study whereby 36 officers from an Oregon city were given a casebook with 71 wife assault cases and postexperimental questionnaires. After each case, officers were given a 7-point scale to rate husband and wife responsibility and a 4-point scale of legal sanctions. The results found that the overriding determinant of blame to the victim was the victim’s level of antagonism. Drinking by the victim also increased her perceived responsibility and decreased the abuser’s perceived responsibility. However, assigning blame to the victim did not appear to influence their professional decisions. Victim injury led the officers to hold the abusive husband more responsible. Factors which seemed to influence arrest decisions, in addition to victim injury, were the assailant’s behavior toward the investigating officers and the assailant’s history of abuse. From these findings, the authors conclude that police base their Intervention decisions on legal rather than extralegal information. References and tables are included.


On order at John Jay
Currently available at other Cuny Libraries, check catalog
HQ809.3.U5 W35

47) Wallace, H. (1996). The criminal justice response to spousal abuse. In Family
         violence: Legal, medical, and social perspectives
(pp. 191-216). Boston: Allyn
         & Bacon.

This text begins with an outline of the extent of the problem and the theory of the cycle of violence. The chapter covers the police response to as well as the prosecution of offenders in spouse abuse cases. The author addresses the factors which affect police response from the standpoints of the individual officers, various departmental policies, and the evolution of the law in this area. An objective discussion of arrest policies and arrest alternatives is offered. In addition, the text contains descriptions of the various types of restraining orders, their background and use, the police role in obtaining them, and their advantages and disadvantages. A checklist of guidelines is provided for prosecutors and a breakdown of the criminal justice process is presented in a sidebar. Notes are included.



A letter in bold at the end of each annotation will refer to the type of arrest the author recommends. The letter P stands for pro-arrest, M stands for mandatory arrest, and A stands for a general reference to arrest.


48) Attorney General’s Family Violence Task Force. (1989). Domestic violence: A
         model protocol for police response.
Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of
         Pennsylvania, Office of Attorney General.

The Task Force’s motives in generating this guide were to urge state and departmental police forces in Pennsylvania to adopt written protocol and to establish guidelines and procedures for domestic calls. As the model provides a pro-arrest policy, it follows that the Task Force would recommend this response. Subsequent to a thorough and well documented discussion on the history, scope, and nature of the abuse as well as perpetrator and victim characteristics, the report points out the background of the criminal justice response and outlines its model. Procedures for dispatchers as well as police officers are enumerated. For the latter, guidelines for initial contact, establishing control, on-scene investigation and the arrest decision are given. Current Pennsylvania law is explained to help clarify arrest guidelines. In an implementation and recommendations section, proper training and the need for cooperation by all arms of the state’s criminal justice system are stressed. References are included. P


Fiche and Bound Periodicals

49) Bangham, L. (1986). Domestic violence: Too late to mediate. The Police Chief,
         53, (6),

Written by a police chief, this article opens with a discussion of the Tracy Thurman case--in which a woman successfully sued a police department for lack of responsiveness in a spousal assault incident-- and the impact that he believes it will have on police policies. Maintaining that officers should approach domestic violence cases in the same way they approach stranger violence, he outlines the points to investigation:  1) look for signs of probable cause; 2) emphasis should be placed on establishing probable cause, not mediating, and the benefit of the doubt should be given to the victim; 3) apply normal police skills to the situation as opposed to mediation skills; 4) the administration should establish a written  mandatory police policy; 5) take the arrest decision away from the victim; 6) remove the offender from the scene; and 7) offer support to the victim via referral services. He concludes that given successful law suits like the Thurman case, the costs of domestic violence will effect everybody and mediation is therefore no longer an alternative. M



50) Barnett, O. W., & LaViolette, A. D. (1993). It could happen to anyone: Why
         battered women stay.
Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

This book offers the victims’ perspective on police intervention and cites the inadequacies of institutional responses as a factor in why women stay with their abusers. The authors enumerate some of the possible reasons for police attitudes and present the findings of several studies which illustrate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of arrest in domestic violence cases for both the offenders and the victims. They maintain that police action shows the woman that the system is behind her; whereas police inaction may illustrate the opposite. While some progress has been made in police reform, discretionary arrest and some laws have limited the positive results once foreseen by feminists. The authors conclude that there has not been enough reform in other areas of criminal justice. Look in the book’s index under “Police Intervention”. Appendices and notes are included. A



51) Bean, C. A. (1992). Women murdered by the men they loved. NewYork: Haworth

This is a fascinating account of the factors influencing the incidents and aftermaths of women killed by their male partners. Largely anecdotal, the author gives narrative accounts of many incidents, including some very famous cases like the Jeffrey MacDonald and Claus Von Bulow cases. In discussing the police response to domestic violence, the author is very critical and recalls actual newspaper accounts of homicides where victims had previously sought police protection. While not a large focus of the book, the author’s discussion of police policy and the gender gap in justice is Illuminating. Look in the book’s index under “Police, Domestic Violence and”. Notes and a resource list are included. A


HQ809.3.U5 B57

52) Blackman, J. (1989). Intimate violence: A study of injustice.  New York:
         Columbia University Press.

The book is written from a psychological perspective,and although the specific discussion of police response is limited, the implications of law enforcement policies are present as the author discusses government intervention and social welfare at length. Specific mention of the police is made in the discussion of Bruno v. Codd (New York), a successful class action suit which claimed that abused wives were being denied legal protection. The book also theorizes that the perception of police nonresponsiveness reduces the likelihood of victims ever reporting violent incidents and that this fuels the battered woman syndrome whose victims feel they have no available alternatives. The book illustrates the progression of intimate violence and the emergence of social awareness. It concludes with a discussion of the use of expert testimony in battered woman trials. Look in the book’s index under “Battered Woman Syndrome” or “Police Nonresponsiveness to Battered Women”. Appendices, notes, and tables are included. A



53) Bouza, A. (1991). Responding to domestic violence. In M. Steinman (Ed.),
         Woman battering: Policy responses (pp. 191- 202). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson.

This author was the police chief in Minneapolis at the time of the famed experiment. He believes that any theories which do not consider spouse abuse a gender specific crime are a waste of time. In adopting an arrest policy, he points out that the language should be clear, referral services should be outlined, and training programs must be instituted. Arrest underlines the offense to offenders who never perceived themselves as batterers. He recommends a victim advocate program and a shelter system to ensure proper follow through and help provide for victims’ needs. He believes that the criminal justice system must insist on the victim-offender confrontation and that feminist theory which suggests that confrontation should be avoided to spare the victim further pain, is counterproductive. Lastly, he suggests that all branches of the criminal justice system must cooperate  and alternative treatment programs must be considered. Notes are included. A


Bound Periodicals

54) Bowman, C. G. (1992). The arrest experiments: A feminist critique. The Journal
         of Criminal Law & Criminology, 83,
201- 208.

The author critiques the Minneapolis replication studies implemented in Milwaukee, Charlotte, Omaha, and Colorado Springs. Results from these studies suggest that arrest is not an effective deterrent and may even lead to further retaliation by the offender. She makes three points about these studies: 1) the authors isolate arrest in these experiments and fail to examine it as a part of a system in responding to these cases; 2) as the victims are reduced to statistics, the studies fail to take advantage of the valuable information which may come from them personally; and 3) as the mode of analysis is inherently singular, effectiveness is measured by whether or not there are quantifiable outcomes like recidivism or retaliation, whereas the long-term societal good is ignored. She finds the analysis of results of these studies too simplistic and calls for a more comprehensive approach to the problem--one that includes arrest, prosecution, severe sentencing, and support for the victims. Notes and references are included. M



55) Breci, M. G. (1986). Police response to domestic disturbances. Unpublished
         doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University, IA.

The goal of this study was to develop a theoretical model which could predict the factors influencing police response to domestic disturbance calls. While the author identifies the opposing theories as family crisis intervention versus mandatory arrest, he notes that most studies suggest a policy somewhere in between the two. A questionnaire was developed to determine if the following factors: community size, administrative orientation, department role, amount of training, type of training, officer’s perception of the value of training, and officer’s perception of the value of intervention role at family fight, had any causal effect on officer’s intervention. Two hundred and forty two officers from four different police departments--representing very different demographics--made up the sample. The results found that while the officers did not believe that mandatory arrest policies would reduce the incidence of family violence, their answers demonstrated that they would comply to these policies. He calls for mandatory arrest policies with police training in crisis intervention. Appendices, charts, models and notes are included. M


Reserve and Stacks

56) Browne, A. (1987). The legal system and battered women. In When battered
         women kill
(pp. 159-177). New York: Free Press.

Much of the narrative is derived from interviews with victims in six states. The author maintains that while the legal system was so successful in prosecuting the cases through repeated appeal, in which women killed their abusers, it failed these same women when they were the victims of ceaseless abuse. Discussing the history of the laws which protect male batterers and their rights in disciplining their wives, the author maintains that while policies have been changing with respect to the police response to these cases, the change has been too slow. Also too slow to change have been the attitudes nurtured by a patriarchal society. The police still routinely classify these cases as misdemeanors, rarely arrest the assailant, and discourage women from pressing charges. The author also points out the inadequacies of the prosecutors and courts by citing specific cases and incidents. A


HV6250.4.W65 B87

57) Burstow, B. (1992). Radical feminist therapy: Working in the  context of
. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

This book is constructed within the feminist theory that violence against women is the central problem in all womens’ lives. The author is a psychotherapist who offers both theoretical discussions and practical approaches to therapy in dealing with various specific issues of violence against women. While the discussion of police response to beating is brief, it is pertinent in that it offers an extreme viewpoint. In fact, the author accuses the police of trivializing the incidents and claims that the use of the term “domestic violence” suggests that the violence is tame. Nevertheless, she sees use of legal mechanisms as a public display of standing up for the self and enumerates the various guidelines to remember when trying to help women to determine whether or not to use the legal system. Look in the book’s index under “Police, Partner Abuse and”. Appendices and notes are included. A


Film and Bound Periodicals

58) Buzawa, E. S., Austin, T. L., & Buzawa, C. G. (1995). Responding to crimes of
         violence against women: Gender  differences versus organizational
         imperatives. Crime & Delinquency, 41, 443-466.

The authors tested the theory which maintains that there may be a difference in how police departments respond to domestic violence cases compared with similar offenses among strangers. Previous research showed that despite laws that call for pro-arrest or mandatory policies, the incidence of arrest is still low in domestic cases and that given the visibility of the police, they have a primary responsibility to arrest offenders. The sample consisted of 376 assault cases from the official records of a police department in a midwestern city. the researchers found that as the level of intimacy in the relationship became less obvious, the arrest response became more likely. Even when situational variables like use of a weapon, offender presence at scene, seriousness of victim injury, and victim’s preference for arrest are introduced, arrest is still more likely in incidents of stranger assault. In reviewing the department’s policy manual, the authors believed there was a low level of interest in domestic violence. They maintain that the focus of the policy is on police safety rather than victim safety, and that such cases in general were not pertinent to the department’s mission. Notes, references, and tables are included. A



59) Buzawa, E. S. & Buzawa, C. G. (1990). Domestic violence: The criminal justice
. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

In addition to lengthy discussions on the classic response of law enforcement to domestic violence and the various intervention techniques, the authors detail the impetus for change. In addition to the woman’s movement, pioneer studies, and liability suits, they discuss the Minneapolis Experiment and the reasons for why this study had such a huge impact on policy. These reasons include media interest, that its authors drew conclusions which were desired by feminists and other battered woman’s advocates, and the authors of the study’s publicity efforts. Both the increased role of arrest and its rationale are discussed. While the authors present the proponents’ arguments for mandatory arrest, they maintain that there has been too little research to demonstrate whether or not these policies will have their intended effects. Notes and tables are included. P


HV6626.22.W2 C65

60) A community approach to domestic violence: The Bellevue stipulated order of
         continuance program.
(1991). (3rd ed.).  Bellevue, WA: Bellevue Police

As part of a program implemented by the City of Bellevue which requires coordinated efforts from the police, prosecutors office, courts, probation department, victim’s advocates, and batterer’s counseling program, the police exercise a mandatory arrest policy. Cases in which the police have difficulty determining that probable cause exists are referred to the prosecutor for possible issuance of a summons. In either case, the procedures are followed as outlined by the program (see annotation no. 108). This report maintains that the implementation of this program has influenced police perceptions in these matters, increased the number of arrests, and aided more victims in finding safe homes. The report summarizes that the program has been successful as evidenced by a lower recidivism rate but that success can only be attributed to the coordinated efforts of all agencies involved. M


LD1 no. 972

61) Costakos-Andreacchi, O. K. (1991). Battered women in America: An advocacy
         theory of structural denial.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Fordham
         University, New York.

This study examines society’s response to battered women by analyzing the laws of Minnesota and New Jersey and by observing three battered womens’ shelters in New York and New Jersey. The author’s review of the literature on the police response to domestic violence concludes that the most prevalent theme for why the legal system does not adequately respond to domestic violence cases is the concept of family sanctity. As a result of this lack of response, the legal system has devalued the victim, trivialized battering, and denied the victims equal protection. The discussion of the shelters compared shelter capacities, length of stay, population services, and shelter services. The analysis of the laws identified viable legislation in dealing with the issue. She maintains that while the laws are somewhat effective in attempts to alleviate woman battering, they are not without some shortcomings. Appendices, charts, models and notes are included. M



62) Duncan, T. S. (1985). Domestic crisis intervention for law enforcement officers.
         (1st ed.). Lawrenceville, VA: Brunswick.

Written by a law enforcement training officer, this book is a practical guide for officers facing crisis intervention situations. The guide offers procedures for all types of crisis situations. Introductory material includes a thorough explanation of the threat to police officers these situations pose as well as a profile of the behavioral characteristics which are usually present in the officers who get murdered in these situations, the weapons used in such instances, the places these incidents occur, and elements of armed confrontation. In discussing intervention, the author first discusses what motivates the abuser. In addition, the theory of “learned helplessness” as it pertains to victims and its sometimes accounting for their uncooperativeness is also discussed. In addition, methods used to encourage the victim to press charges and to insure that the case will not be subsequently dropped are presented. Charts, graphs, illustrations, and tables are included. P


Bound Periodicals
BF1. C27

63) Dutton, D. G. (1984). Interventions into the problem of wife assault:
         Therapeutic, policy, and research implication.  Canadian Journal of
         Behavioural Science, 16,

Maintaining that the literature published prior to 1970 paid little attention to psychological research regarding wife assault, the author points out that since that time, the emphasis has been on: 1) development of crisis intervention for police and professionals, 2) the causes of wife assault in males, and 3) development of treatment groups for male batterers. The author addresses the first of these by discussing programs which he has developed in the Canadian police force. Subsequent to an assessment of current practices, he developed a five-step program for crisis intervention which involved safety, defusing of violence, problem resolution, mediation techniques, and referral techniques. The training was successful in that it decreased the violence aimed towards the police and increased the likelihood of the police initiating long-term solutions. At the time of the study, increased arrest rates were unlikely, so the police were trained to make referrals. He maintains that combining arrest with mandatory treatment is worthy of future study. References are included. A


HQ809.3.U5 F347

64) Edelson, J. L. (1990). Judging the success of interventions  with men who batter.
         In D. J. Besharov (Ed.), Family violence: Research and public policy issues
         (pp. 130-145). Washington, DC: AEI Press.

The author claims that the major thrusts in intervention with men who batter have been in couple or couple group treatment, group treatment of batterers, and the criminal justice system with emphasis on police actions. Poor results because of ineffectiveness of police using traditional intervention methods and pressures from battered womens’ advocates have forced changes in police response to these types of situations. He argues that success of intervention is hard to measure as repeat violence is often regarded as the determination of the rate of success, however, violence is difficult to define or identify as there are varying degrees. In addition these definitions usually don’t included threats of abuse, threats to resources or children, and harassment. He concludes that while much of the criminal justice research addresses police action, there are other areas of criminal justice response that should be addressed. A


Bound Periodicals

65) Ellis, D. (1987). Policing wife-abuse: The contribution made by ‘domestic
         disturbances’ to deaths and injuries among police officers.  Journal of Family
         Violence, 2,

In this report the author explores two principles. One is the belief that “domestic disturbance” calls are extremely dangerous and the second is the acceptance of this theory as found throughout the literature. He disputes the first principle by arguing that most statistics of officers killed during these disturbances are in absolute numbers and not presented in relation to the number of calls. Since these calls are frequent, the percent of death and injury is relatively small. Also, these statistics are usually irrelevant as “disturbance calls” include tavern fights, man with a gun, marital conflicts, and noisy parties. His reasoning for the firmly entrenched belief in what he calls the “myth” of domestic disturbance begins with the 1966 New York City crisis intervention program. The program’s author, Bard, asserted and later publicized that these were the most dangerous type of assignments taken by police. Police all over the country, and researchers in various fields have perpetuated this assertion. References and tables are included. A

Studies 66-113 (continuted)


Library | College | Research

Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
899 10th Avenue
NY, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 237-8246
Fax: (212) 237-8221