The Decision to Arrest: The Impact of Contextual Effects on the Officer's Decision to Arrest in Domestic Violence Incidents

Brian Lawton, Temple University

This paper proposes to examine the usefulness of contextual variables in understanding the decision of the police officer to make an arrest during the course of a domestic violence incident. While previous research has focused on individual and situational characteristics of these incidents, there have been few opportunities to understand the interaction from a contextual perspective. The purpose of the research is to determine if the context of the police citizen interaction has any bearing on the officer's decision whether or not to arrest either, or both, of the parties. The data for these analyses cover all domestic violence incidents within the state of Rhode Island over a two-year period (1999-2000).

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Updated 05/20/2006