Failure to Arrest: A Pilot Study of Police Response to Domestic Violence in Rural Illinois.

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The need for specific inquiry into rural domestic violence is pressing because rural survivors face barriers to legal and economic services that is compounded by their isolated physical location. However, there is a paucity of legal discourse addressing the issue of rural domestic violence. In particular, it is important to consider law enforcement response to domestic violence calls because police officers often serve as the gateway to the legal community through first-response action. This Article, the first focus group based study of survivors' perceptions of law enforcement response to domestic violence in the rural Midwest, points out the disconnect between law and action in rural Illinois through the voices of domestic violence survivors. The survivor narratives demonstrate the gap between law and practice through examples of ineffective police response to domestic abuse. Thus, I propose a method of strengthening police response to domestic violence calls in rural areas by recommending the use of detailed first response forms to encourage officers to engage in risk assessment techniques to better assess whether an arrest is warranted in response to a domestic violence call. Additionally, the form will serve as a reminder of the numerous statutorily mandated duties imposed on law enforcement officers. Through the use of these methods, rural officers can respond more effectively to domestic violence calls and better serve rural survivors of domestic abuse. ..PAT.-Unpublished Manuscript
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-703
JournalAmerican University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


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