• Women’s narratives on their interactions with the first response police officer following an incidence of domestic violence in the UK

      Keeling, June J.; Van Wormer, Katherine; Taylor, Paul J.; University of Chester ; University of Iowa ; University of Chester (OMICS Group International, 2015-06)
      Historically police responses towards the treatment of domestic disturbances regard them as a noncriminal problem. Recent changes to societal and Criminal Justice System attitudes to domestic violence now places an emphasis on first response officers to effectively deal with offenders, manage victim safety and gather evidence. This study explored fifteen women’s interactions with the attending first response police officer following an episode of domestic violence within the home. A qualitative approach using unstructured narrative interviews was chosen to ensure that each woman remained in control of the research interview. Thematic analysis revealed three main themes concerning power relations and officer attitudes, suggesting that personal and cultural factors may negatively impact on officers’ handling of complaints of partner assault, offsetting policy initiatives that guide officers in engaging with victims of domestic violence. The order of the themes reflects the sequential nature of the women’s dialogue. The first theme explores the initial police response, followed by the women’s narratives around feelings of personal disregard for their experiences and evidential considerations. The final theme explores the police response to retraction of statements. Women’s interactions with first response officers following domestic violence illuminates societal issues previously unmentioned. Making womens’ stories visible provides an important insight, contribution and opportunity to examine first response officer’s responses to domestic violence. Integrating the voices of the women (service users) themselves, is arguably an advantageous consideration towards continuing professional development training for all first response police officers.