Understanding the factors that predict victim retraction in police reported allegations of intimate partner violence
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2016, 11:26 by Lisa L. Smith, E. Sleath
Objective: A large number of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), who report their victimization to the police, subsequently either retract or disengage from the police investigation. Given that we have a very limited understanding of victim retraction/disengagement in IPV cases, this study addresses this gap by identifying the victim, perpetrator, and offense characteristics that predict retraction/disengagement. Method: Cases of police-reported IPV (n = 524) were analyzed to examine victim, perpetrator, and offense characteristics that may predict retraction or disengagement as well as examining the reasons given for retracting/disengaging from the police investigation. Results: The results indicated a high level of retraction or disengagement from police investigations. Victim and perpetrator characteristics did not predict retraction or disengagement; however, in comparison with cases in which the victims maintain engagement with the case, a number of offense related characteristics (e.g., risk assessment level) did predict retraction and disengagement. Conclusions: Victim retraction and disengagement is a significant issue in the successful prosecution of IPV cases, and the findings suggest that certain offense related characteristics increase the likelihood of victim retraction/disengagement.