Community Policing of Domestic Violence? The Turbulent History of an Inter-Agency Domestic Violence Coalition in a Large City, 1986-2001

Erin Lane, Police Foundation
Joan Lucera, Police Foundation
Graham Farrell, Police Foundation

Police agencies have given an increased emphasis to domestic violence in recent years. One strategy includes the police expanding their traditional working relationships to include the spectrum of agencies working on domestic violence in the local community. Such cooperative and partnership approaches are based on the notion that collaboration and exchange of information can lead to more informed and effective approaches to preventing domestic violence. This paper reports on the history of a large city police department's relationship with a coalition of agencies working to address domestic violence in its city. Data were collected through observation and in-person interviews with representatives of agencies, including police personnel, working on domestic violence. Data were synthesized for a fifteen-year period including the time immediately prior to the development of the coalition group. It was found that the work of the coalition and its relationship with the police department has gone through various highs and lows. The analysis includes tracking changes in, and the trajectory of, the coalition over time, as well as the domestic violence work of the police department. The broader implications of the findings are identified in order that they may inform the work of inter-agency coalitions and police departments elsewhere in their efforts to tackle domestic violence.

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Updated 05/20/2006