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"Handling" Family Violence: Situational Determinants of Police Arrest in Domestic Disturbances

Sarah Fenstermaker Berk and Donileen R. Loseke
Law & Society Review
Vol. 15, No. 2 (1980 - 1981), pp. 317-346
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053608
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053608
Page Count: 30
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"Handling" Family Violence: Situational Determinants of Police Arrest in Domestic Disturbances
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Abstract

The recent "discovery" of family violence, particularly violence between spouses, has elicited attention from social scientists and policy makers. Police intervention in domestic disputes is a primary focus. Critiques of police practice have often centered on police failure to arrest offenders in domestic violence incidents. Yet, the literature to date reveals little effort to examine systematically the discretionary role of police in domestic disputes. With data drawn from 262 official police reports concerning domestic disturbances, the propensity of police to make arrests is examined through a variety of exogenous variables. Police arrests, we find, reflect the immediate circumstances of police-citizen encounters.

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