U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Police Response to Domestic Violence Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1988
Two different types of data were collected from eight randomly selected police departments in Massachusetts from October to December 1986 to determine police response when a call is classified as "domestic" in nature.

Police logs were examined to learn the actual nature and extent of calls for service for different time periods during the day. Officers also completed a 1-page incident reporting form. The eight police departments varied in the incidence of domestic violence calls and differed in size, geographic location in the State, police resources, and crime rates. In general, the larger the department, the larger the percentage of cases were taken up by domestic disturbance calls. Nearly one in three of all calls was recognized as repetitive in nature. Minor injuries to the victim were reported in 34.2 percent of all cases. Usually, two officers responded to the call with an average response time of 19 minutes. The most frequent resolution of domestic violence calls was to "advise victim of rights," which occurred in 19.6 percent of all cases. "Restored peace," which occurred 11.5 percent of the time, was the second most frequent response. The arrest or taking into protective custody of the offending party occurred in 7.7 percent of the cases. In those cases in which a court order was in effect, arrest occurred in 23 percent of the cases. Specific issues for which statutes need to be clarified are recommended as is the need to direct more attention to alternative interventions. 15 references, 7 tables, and 1 appendix

Date Published: December 31, 1988