Police Evaluations of Intimate Partner Violence in Heterosexual and Same-Sex Relationships

Do Experience and Training Play a Role?

Brenda L. Russell, John A.(Drew) Sturgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent years, law enforcement agencies have enhanced intimate partner violence (IPV) policies and increased the frequency of required training. Yet, there is limited research that addresses how experience and training are related to evaluations of heterosexual and same-sex disputants in an IPV incident. This research investigates how officers perceive heterosexual and same-sex disputants in IPV incidents and examines how officer experience, frequency, and recency of required IPV training affect evaluations. Law enforcement officers (n = 309) across 27 states responded to a hypothetical scenario of an IPV incident between a heterosexual or same-sex couple. Dependent variables included perpetrator and victim arrest, perceived fairness of non-arrest options, willingness to provide referrals for perpetrator and victim, and severity of victim injury. Officers believed that the use of some non-arrest options was fairer when the perpetrator was a gay male or heterosexual female and there were no significant effects for arrest options. Referrals to a domestic violence hotline and injury severity varied by perpetrator and victim gender and sexual orientation. While officer experience played a role in non-arrest options, frequency and recency of officer training were not related to dependent variables of interest. Officers embrace evaluations of IPV that demonstrate differential evaluations of the incident as a result of gender and sexual orientation. These evaluations may have implications for the legitimacy of claims and safety and justice for victims and officers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

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Heterosexuality
Police
police
violence
incident
evaluation
experience
sexual orientation
law enforcement
Sexual Behavior
Referral and Consultation
Hotlines
Illegitimacy
Law Enforcement
Domestic Violence
gender
Wounds and Injuries
Social Justice
domestic violence
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law

Cite this

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title = "Police Evaluations of Intimate Partner Violence in Heterosexual and Same-Sex Relationships: Do Experience and Training Play a Role?",
abstract = "In recent years, law enforcement agencies have enhanced intimate partner violence (IPV) policies and increased the frequency of required training. Yet, there is limited research that addresses how experience and training are related to evaluations of heterosexual and same-sex disputants in an IPV incident. This research investigates how officers perceive heterosexual and same-sex disputants in IPV incidents and examines how officer experience, frequency, and recency of required IPV training affect evaluations. Law enforcement officers (n = 309) across 27 states responded to a hypothetical scenario of an IPV incident between a heterosexual or same-sex couple. Dependent variables included perpetrator and victim arrest, perceived fairness of non-arrest options, willingness to provide referrals for perpetrator and victim, and severity of victim injury. Officers believed that the use of some non-arrest options was fairer when the perpetrator was a gay male or heterosexual female and there were no significant effects for arrest options. Referrals to a domestic violence hotline and injury severity varied by perpetrator and victim gender and sexual orientation. While officer experience played a role in non-arrest options, frequency and recency of officer training were not related to dependent variables of interest. Officers embrace evaluations of IPV that demonstrate differential evaluations of the incident as a result of gender and sexual orientation. These evaluations may have implications for the legitimacy of claims and safety and justice for victims and officers.",
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