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primary abstract - Perceptions of the Police by Female...

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Perceptions of the Police by Female Victims of Domestic Partner Violence Robert Apsler; Michele Cummins; Steven Carl Violence Against Women, Vol. 9, No. 11, November 2003 This study conducted by Apsler, et. al. paints a different view of the police response to domestic violence than the one described by Barlow and Barlow. Barlow and Barlow stated that police did very little, if not anything, to aid victims of domestic abuse. In fact, the police “inactions” only “maintained a social order—a patriarchal and repressive social order, one which is particularly hard on people who are poor and thus more susceptible to becoming trapped in abusive relationships.” In contrast, Apsler et. al. found in their study of ninety-five female victims in which most of the women perceived the police in a positive manner in their handling of the domestic violence incident. The study had a representative sample of female domestic abuse victims in which the assailant was familiar to the victim. By representative, the researchers meant that the sample had consisted of victims identified by the police department in which there abuse was reported. This study attempted to identify the factors that influenced their perceptions of police. The sample consisted of females aged 17 to 55 and 75% were 36 years and younger. Sixty-nine percent were Caucasian, while only 17% were Hispanics and 10% were African Americans. This in my opinion shows that minorities are less likely to call the police. Why? The women were interviewed over the course of a year. The interviewers consisted of two white male police officers and one white female police officer. I believe that all interviewers should have been female. Unfortunately the females could have been uncomfortable in the presence of a man, considering the conditions of her present relationship. Thus may have answered favorably because of that, not because they were police officers. I also believe that the interviewers should not have been all white. Unfortunately
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prejudices still exist in today's society, and the minority women have been through a very traumatic experience that leaves them emotionally vulnerable. This could have led them to feel uncomfortable in the presence of Caucasian officers and answering favorably and further jeopardize the validity of this study. The authors were concerned about the victims' honesty with the police officers but they concluded that since some victims reported negative reactions to the police by some of the victims indicated to them that these victims' “felt free to state their opinions.” Furthermore, “the increase in positive reactions to the police is consistent with a recent, concerted effort made by the police department to improve police attitudes and behavior toward victims of domestic violence” also was evidence to these researchers that the victims were being truthful. I would argue that they do not know this for sure and to make that kind of generalization challenges the validity of this study.
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