Is Arrest a Way to Reduce Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence is defined as intimate partner violence, and it occurs when one person in the relationship obtains dominance and control over the other through physical, sexual, or even psychological-emotional abuse, resulting in emotional trauma to the victim. The term domestic violence is also a general term to describe family abuse, such as children, parent, and siblings but most of this research is going to be related to intimate partner violence. Men and women can be victims of domestic violence, even though the majority of domestic violence involves women as victims and men as the perpetrators.

According to Domestic Violence and Mental Health “domestic violence has the highest rate of repeated victimization of any violent crime, and worldwide is a serious cause of death and incapacity among women ages 15 to 49.” (Howard, Trevillion, & Agnew-Davies, 2010).

In the history of domestic violence, men have also been victims, perpetrated by both males and females. Males generally report physical victimization levels similar to or higher than those reported by females. Researchers suggest that women are also violent in intimate relationships, in fact even the number of women arrested has increased.

On the other hand, there have been studies comparing male and female offenders of domestic violence with regard to prevalence rate, motivation for their use of violence and physical and mental health outcomes. Female Domestic Violence Offenders states that “studies have found women using violence for different reasons and in different context than men, and is frequently reported the use of violence out of self-defense.” (Goldenson, Geffner, Foster, & Clipson., 2007). Knowing that Domestic Violence has become more of a serious problem, arrest has become the standard approach in the law enforcement response to domestic violence crime. In addition, as stated by Golden, Geffner, Foster and Clipson (2017) in the United States, all of states have adopted the legislation that criminalizes domestic violence and encourages arrest when probable cause exists.


There is approximately two to four million women abused each year suggesting that domestic violence occurs more frequent than what official statistics says. According to Mandatory arrest? Police Respond to Domestic Violence Victims in early years “Domestic Violence was a male privilege where it could be used to achieve order within homestead, giving men the right to discipline their wives and children” (Frantzen & San Miguel, 2009). “The rule of thumb” recognized by English common law, was basically a guideline for disciplining wives in which men were able to use any type of instrument no larger than the thickness of his thumbs.

This rule not only created a legal right to cause violence but also established violence within the home as a private matter not deserving police intervention, even if it involve serious injuries or even death, the law favored this actions and there was little support, legally and culturally for the police to intervene in family situations(Frantzen & San Miguel, 2009).

Although in the United States during the 19th century men had the right to use domestic violence in their home which it was still acceptable until the 1970s. In the late 20th century feminist organizations, and a variety of victims advocacy groups got together not only to call attention to the abuse women were going through but also to stop the cultural, social, and legal phenomenon of domestic violence from the private domain to a more public, political, and legislative forum.

After the allowance of domestic violence in households ended, it forced a legal change and a justice system’s response to domestic violence. According to Mandatory arrest? Police Respond to Domestic Violence Victims there was a domestic violence experiment in Minneapolis were it showed that “arresting abusers was the most effective deterrent to subsequent abuse thus encouraging state legislators and police executives to favor pro-arrest policies and procedures.” (Frantzen & San Miguel, 2009).

After this experiment was done, it led to the creation of the “USA Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence” which encourages a more proactive stance against domestic violence. Domestic Violence Death Rate In many cases of domestic violence, there is a big probability that the victim can end up seriously injured, or like in many cases the victim ends up dead. Mostly women are the one dying at the hands of a current or former partner or killing themselves.

According to Domestic Violence- related Deaths “suicide can attribute to domestic violence incidents, and it is possible that as many as 7,832 male and 1,958 domestic violence-related suicides occur annually in the United States. When suicides and homicides are combined, the total number of domestic violence related death are higher for males than females.” (Davis, 2010). Additionally, Male-to-female partner violence is more often repeated and is more likely to result in death than female-to-male partner violence. (Schafer., Caetano., Clark., & Catherine L, 1998). A finding total of 10,018 death occurred from 2003-2010.

About 55 percent occurred by the hands of a former partner. Many of these deaths is a result of an argument associated with jealousy, and in some other cases the victims were pregnant. Approximately a 54 percent were gun deaths. (Davis, 2010) Police Response to Domestic Violence & Statistics As reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics “approximately 1.3 million nonfatal domestic violence victimization occurred annually in the United States during 2006-2015.” (Reaves, 2017). When domestic violence cases were responded by the police, in the scene they took a report 78% of the time, and made the victim or other household member signed a criminal complaint against the offender.

For about half of the victimizations reported to the police, the offender was arrested or charges were filed during the initial response or during the follow-up period. (2017). in many cases victims decide not to report a victimization to the police because of personal privacy, to protect the offender, the crime was minor or the victim is afraid of reprisal. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics “female victimizations were four times as likely as male victimizations to go unreported due to fear of reprisal.” In addition, in many of the cases reported the offender was arrested or charges were filed in 39% of victimizations reported to the police.

As reported “The offender was arrested in 89% of the victimizations reported to the police where a victim was seriously injured.” (Reaves, 2017). In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that approximately 9 in 10 local police departments serving 250,000 or more residents operated a full-time domestic violence unit.

Statistics show about 9 in 10 sheriff’s officers and local police departments and 7 in 10 state law enforcement agencies address domestic violence with a specialized unit, dedicated personnel, policies, procedures, or training. Detectives, counselors or social workers are involved in these cases and their job is to investigate serious domestic violence cases, assist victims, and interact with service and treatment agencies to prevent further violence. (Reaves, 2017)


As many of the studies have stated, men are more violent than women vs. men, even though that women are equally responsible for domestic violence. It is important to find a way in which domestic violence can be reduced, and the total of death decreases. As stated above, there is a big percentage of gun death, it would be important to reduce the access to firearms for persons under a domestic violence restraining order, this can prevent and restrain intimate partner homicide and firearm homicide. 

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Is Arrest a Way to Reduce Domestic Violence. (2020, Sep 30). Retrieved February 26, 2024 , from

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