An Uneasy Alliance: Law Enforcement and Victim Advocates in a Rural Area

Lori K. Sudderth, Quinnipiac University

Interagency collaboration in rural areas serves as a way to maximize networks of professionals who could effectively respond to family violence. The ommunity Partnership Team is one such collaboration and includes representatives from law enforcement, victim advocacy, and child protection services. However, collaborations between law enforcement and victim advocates have met with mixed results because of diverse agendas and training protocols for personnel in these organizations. This study was undertaken to better understand the process of organizing a collaborative relationship between law enforcement agencies and two victim advocacy organizations in a rural area. Observations and interviews were conducted over an 18-month period to document obstacles to cooperation between police and victim advocates, changes in relationships between agencies, as well as changes in protocol as a result of collaboration. Results suggested continued strain between agencies as well as strategies for overcoming some of the barriers to a collaborative approach to family violence in rural areas.

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Updated 05/20/2006