Police intervention and the repeat of domestic assault

Richard B. Felson, Jeffrey M. Ackerman, Catherine A. Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We use the National Crime Victimization Survey to examine whether domestic violence is less likely to be repeated if it is reported to the police and if the offender is arrested. Our longitudinal analyses suggest that reporting has a fairly strong deterrent effect, whereas the effect of arrest is small and statistically insignificant. We find no support for the hypothesis that offenders retaliate when victims (rather than third parties) call the police or when victims sign complaints. We also find no evidence that the effects of reporting or arrest depend on the seriousness of the offense, a history of violence by the offender or sociodemographic characteristics. Our results suggest that the best policies for deterrence will be those that encourage victims and third parties to report violence by intimate partners to the police.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-588
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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