Fair Treatment or Preferred Outcome?

The Impact of Police Behavior on Victim Reports of Domestic Violence Incidents

Published in: Law and Society Review, v. 37, no. 3, Sep. 2003, p. 607-633

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2002

by Laura J. Hickman, Sally S. Simpson

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This research is an exploratory test of two hypotheses emerging from debates about how police behavior may influence domestic violence victim reporting. From a procedural justice perspective, victims should be more apt to report victimization when previous encounters with police are viewed procedurally fair. From a distributive justice perspective, denying victims their preferred outcome may discourage future police utilization. The authors find that satisfaction with police is related to both distributive and procedural justice but that re-utilization of police is conditioned by preferred outcome. Specifically, if the offender was arrested in accordance with victim preference, the victim is significantly more apt to utilize police in the future.

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