Arrest Outcomes for Interpartner Violence: The Myth of Parity
45 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2007 Last revised: 13 Dec 2015
Date Written: June 1, 2010
Recent legal reform has changed the ways that police respond to domestic disputes. Studies show that such shifts in legislation have usually resulted in an increased likelihood of arrest for both parties involved. However, most research to date has focused on incidents of male perpetrators assaulting female intimate partners. Few studies have investigated potential differences in police officers’ decisions to arrest when considering both the gender (male versus female) of the suspect and the sexual orientation (heterosexual versus homosexual) of the couples involved. This study utilizes data from a quantitative dataset where police officers completed a mandated checklist after responding to a domestic dispute. We explore the ways that both gender and sexual orientation affect police decision to arrest in intimate partner violence. Results demonstrate that a variety of factors, including the suspect’s prior assaultive behavior, suspect’s hostile attitude, suspect’s race, and presence of an injury are important in the arrest outcome among all groups. However, there are some significant differences in arrest when considering the intersections of gender and sexuality. Findings suggest that future policy and research should continue to consider the impacts of gender and sexuality on official responses to intimate partner violence.
Keywords: police decisionmaking, domestic violence, gender and sexuality, sociological model of law
JEL Classification: K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation