​Chivalry revisited: gender, race/ethnicity, and offense type on domestic violence charge reduction

AuthorRomain, Danielle M. and Tina L. Freiburger
Title Chivalry revisited: gender, race/ethnicity, and offense type on domestic violence charge reduction
Source Feminist Criminology, April 2016, Vol 11, No. 2, pp 191-222
Date 2016
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This study explores the effects of defendant gender, race/ethnicity, type of offense and victim gender, on charge reduction. Data for the study was collected from 2,281 domestic violence cases charged by the District Attorney's office in a Midwestern county in 2009. Within the jurisdiction domestic violence included current and former intimate partners and adult children living with parents. The majority of cases (1,949) involved male offenders and female victims with much smaller numbers of female offender/male victim cases (152.7) and for same-sex cases there were 96.6 male/male and 82.3 female/female cases. Defendant gender had a direct effect on the likelihood of case dismissal and female defendants were more likely to have their cases fully prosecuted. Race was also found to have an effect and non-white females were much less likely to have violent charges reduced compared with their white counterparts. Although case dismissal and violent charge reduction appeared to be influenced by gender, count dismissal and severity reduction did not. An additional finding was that having an order of bail significantly affected all the decision points examined. Limitations to the study included cases from one jurisdiction and small numbers of females across racial and ethnic groups.
Keywords Intimate partner violence; prosecution; male victims; same-sex; family violence; disparate treatment
Topic Male victims