When the "Blues" Come to Call: Police Officers' Attitudes Toward and Responses to Domestic Violence

Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

James A. Nolan

Committee Member

Lucien Lombardo

Committee Member

Helen M. Eigenberg

Committee Member

Megan Zwisohm

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 C76


As a result of the growing popularity of arrest in domestic assault cases, many studies have focused on the relationship between police arrest policies and incidence rates of domestic violence. However, few actually assess direct input from police officers concerning their attitudes and perceptions of these policies, or how they feel about dealing with domestic violence. Since police officers are the first point at which domestic disputes are brought to the public's attention, the information provided by police officers concerning domestic violence can provide essential knowledge which could impact future policies and training on domestic violence. This study addresses the following questions: What are police officers' attitudes toward domestic violence in general? How do police officers report they respond to domestic violence calls? And, do police officers' attitudes toward domestic violence influence their response/behavior?

This study is based on qualitative and quantitative data collected from a survey designed to elicit attitudes associated with domestic violence. The survey consists of 60 questions designed to analyze attitudes toward current arrest policies, attitudes associated with domestic calls, and officers' behavior and responses to such calls. The present research shows that indeed in some circumstances attitudes may influence subsequent responses.


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