The Police Response to Domestic Violence Cases Involving Same Sex Couples Compared to Heterosexual Couples

April Pattavina, University of Massachusetts - Lowell
David Hirschel, University of Massachusetts - Lowell
Eve Buzawa, University of Massachusetts - Lowell
Donald Faggiani, University of Wyoming
Julie Sabourin, University of Massachusetts - Lowell

It has been argued that the police do not differentially respond to domestic calls involving same sex couples compared to calls involving heterosexual couples. A major problem confronting researchers examining this issue has been the lack of adequate sample sizes of same sex partners. This paper uses data from the National Incident Based Reporting System for the year 2000 which contains 577,862 assault and intimidation incidents reported to 2,819 police departments in 19 states. The key issue examined is whether similar cases involving same-sex and heterosexual couples result in similar police responses. the categories of police response examined are "no arrest", "single arrest", and "dual arrest" (arrest of both parties). Separate analyses are conducted for female and male same sex couples with controls for victim injury and presence of a weapon. The policy implications of the findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006