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​When abuse happens again: women’s reasons for not reporting new incidents of intimate partner abuse to law enforcement

Author(s) Gover, Angela R., Courtney Welton-Mitchell, Joanne Belknap & Anne P. DePrince
Title When abuse happens again: women's reasons for not reporting new incidents of intimate partner abuse to law enforcement
Source Women & Criminal Justice; 2013; Vol.23, Issue 2, p99-120
Date 2013
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This study explored the reasons why women who were already engaged with the criminal justice system did not report intimate partner abuse (IPA) to the police. The study was part of a larger longitudinal study using a community sample of women from a US urban area. Survivors of IPA were interviewed at three points in time over the course of one year. A subset was formed of 102 women who reported at least one abuse item at Time 2 and Time 3 did not report to the police. Almost half of these participants reported that they did not report the abuse because they were dissatisfied with the criminal justice system. The reasons for this dissatisfaction included: a prior negative experience with police; a negative impression of the outcome of a previous incident; or because they did not want to deal with courts. The study also showed that thirty-nine per cent of respondents felt the matter was not serious enough or they would not be taken seriously and twenty-three per cent were concerned with potential negative consequences for themselves or their children. The authors suggest areas for future research, particularly victims' experiences with police and how that impacts on their decision to contact the police again.
Keywords Domestic violence; criminal justice system; reporting police; intimate partner abuse; intimate partner violence.
Topic Domestic violence