Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 5. Law Enforcement Responses

Section 5 — Do they increase victim satisfaction?

Victim satisfaction with the criminal justice system is not associated with whether the victim received advocacy per se, but rather with concrete law enforcement activities such as issuance of a warrant against absent abusers or assistance in obtaining protective orders. [220] Similarly, the NVAWS found that stalking victims whose stalkers were arrested were significantly more likely to be satisfied with the police response than those in situations where no arrest was made (76 percent vs. 42 percent). [208]

Studies of victim dissatisfaction generally focus on four major themes: (1) adverse personal outcomes (victim arrested, child protection agency called), (2) the police "made assumptions or did not listen," (3) the police took sides (against her), and (4) nothing happened (a strong court sanction was absent). [151]

Implications for Law Enforcement

The single, most appreciated service that officers can deliver to the greatest number of victims is the arrest of their abusers. Specialized domestic violence law enforcement units that focus on arrests can enhance the likelihood of successful prosecution and increase victim satisfaction and safety. (Research basis: Although specific studies of specialized domestic violence law enforcement units are few, the activities conducted by these units have been more widely studied and supported by extensive research.)

Date Created: June 5, 2009