Gender and Calling the Police: The Interaction of Victim and Offender Gender

Jerome B. McKean, Ball State University

Using National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data for 1992-1994, Felson, Messner and Hoskin (1999) discovered that the decision to call the police by victims of assault is influenced by the gender of the victim and of the offender. Victims and third parties were more likely to call the police when a woman was involved either as an offender or a victim. This effect was stronger than that of the relationship between the victim and the offender. In this study, I further examine the effects of the gender of the offender and of the victim on the notification of the police. Using data on assault incidents from the NCVS for 1992-2000, the effects of victim and offender sex, the relationship between victim and offender, and the seriousness of the offense are explored. Preliminary findings indicate that it is not simply the involvement women as victims or offenders that increases the likelihood of police notification, but whther the incident involves victims and offenders of the same or different gender. Victim and offender gender also influence who (the victim or someone else) calls the police and the reasons that respondents give for either calling the police or not calling them.

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Updated 05/20/2006