Gender differences in perceptions of arrest laws and factors associated with arrests in domestic violence incidents
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Domestic violence severely impacts individuals and society as a whole. The purpose of this research study was to explore the gender differentiation observed in police officers' percep- tions on mandatory arrest policies and domestic violence incidents, as well as to examine how those perceptions influence the decision to arrest in domestic violence cases. The first research question attempted to identify how officers are guided by arrest policies, specifically, mandatory arrest policies. Secondly, the researchers wanted to examine how officers perceive having to use mandatory arrest policies. Finally, the researchers sought to find out what other factors guide their decisions to make an arrest, as well as the difficulties that may arise during a domestic violence incident. A majority of officers believed that mandatory arrest policies are effective. While most officers believed that mandatory arrest polices were effective, many suggested that they might step outside of policy during certain situations. Factors such as weapon use, child involvement, substance use, injuries, and the scene of the crime were all found to be predictors of arrest in domestic violence situations. Challenges discussed by both male and female officers included difficulty in determining who the perpetrator was and over- coming language barriers in domestic violence incidents. Gender-based differences observed in responses among officers were minimal.