Differential Police Response to Black Battered Women
Women & Criminal Justice
As the experiences of black battered women with the police remain an underresearched issue, the current study focuses on the police arrest decision for these victims compared to other victims. Two important research questions are answered: (1) is the arrest rate for black battered women significantly lower compared to other domestic violence victims, and (2) are there different factors influencing the police decision to arrest for these victims compared to others? Using data from a medium-sized Midwestern police department, a model of the arrest decision was analyzed using logistic regression to compare the police response to black battered women versus ‘other’ victims. Results indicated that four variables differed to a significant extent across models: victim age, suspect age, victim had a probable drug or alcohol problem, and children present at the scene. Drawing upon the feminist and policing literatures, the results and implications of our findings are discussed.