Date of Award

Fall 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Helen Taylor Greene

Committee Member

Dianne C. Carmody

Committee Member

Judi Caron-Sheppard

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 W47 2003


With domestic violence an increasing problem within the United States, police response to domestic violence has emerged as an important issue in its prevention and treatment. Recent research on police response to domestic violence has yielded conflicting results, with some studies showing that officer gender affects responses. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect that officer gender has on both formal and informal police responses to domestic violence. Incident reports were collected from a police agency to examine responses to domestic violence.

Results indicated that officer gender does have a significant effect upon both formal and informal police responses. Consistent with the study's hypotheses, female officers were more likely to make both an arrest and referral, more likely to make a referral only, and less likely to take no action at all. Unexpectedly, female officers were less likely to make only an arrest. These findings indicated that officer gender should be considered an important variable when examining police response to domestic violence.


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