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Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest Laws: To What Extent Do They Influence Police Arrest Decisions?

David Hirschel, Eve Buzawa, April Pattavina and Don Faggiani
The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-)
Vol. 98, No. 1 (Fall, 2007), pp. 255-298
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40042852
Page Count: 44
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Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest Laws: To What Extent Do They Influence Police Arrest Decisions?
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Abstract

Current research on domestic violence indicates that intimate partner violence arrest rates have risen as a direct result of the implementation of mandatory and preferred arrest domestic violence laws. However, this research also suggests that part of this increase can be attributed to an increase in the arrest rate of females in cases of domestic assault. In addition, the arrest of both parties involved in an incident, also known as a "dual arrest," appears to have contributed to the rising rates of domestic assault arrest. This study analyzes assault and intimidation data from a calendar year 2000 National Incident Based Reporting System ("NIBRS") dataset that includes information from 2819 police departments in nineteen states. The study examines the differential arrest outcomes in intimate partner and other domestic, acquaintance, and stranger assaults, and the effect that the statutory framework has on the likelihood of arrest, with an added emphasis on female arrests. We found that mandatory and preferred arrest statutes have significant effects on arrest practices for intimate partner as well as other victim-offender relationship categories. The nature of the impact of laws varies depending upon offender and offense characteristics.

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