Awarded New Investigator/Doctoral Dissertation Grant


Increasingly, women are arrested for assaults against male partners; many of these women are also victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). The empirical literature has yet to identify the impact that being arrested has on a battered woman’s safety and service needs; such knowledge is crucial for informing prevention and intervention effort to reduce women’s victimization and perpetration of violence. Objectives: The objective of this study is to develop knowledge that will inform efforts to prevent intimate partner violence, ultimately to reduce morbidity and mortality, particularly among the most threatened population: racial and ethnic minority women. The goals of this study are to detect the service needs and risk of re-victimization among battered women, based on IPV arrest experiences (whether or not she was arrested, whether or not her partner was arrested). The primary hypothesis is that a battered woman’s arrest will negatively impact her future safety and increase her need for social, health, and public services that may facilitate her escaping future violence. Study Design: A non-experimental , cross-sectional design employing both quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to compare four groups of battered women: (a) partner arrested, woman not arrested (single-male); (b) woman arrested, partner not arrested (single female); (c) woman and partner both arrested (dual arrest); and (d) neither woman nor partner arrested (no arrest). The primary instrument will be a close-ended questionnaire, complemented by in-depth open-ended interviews eliciting women’s views and experiences in their own words. Setting: The study will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Delaware with participants recruited from a hospital emergency department and social service agencies; the majority of the study population identifies as non-White; primarily Black and/or Latina. Participants: Participants will be English-speaking adult women who have experienced a police call to intervene in an incident of fighting or violence between themselves and a male partner and who are receiving services in a community-based hospital or organization. There will be 64 participants in each of the four groups, for a total sample size of 256. Outcome Measures: The primary outcomes are risk of re-victimization and service needs, as measured by self-report to both open- and close-ended questions. Validated measures of risk will be used in combination with women’s own perceptions of need.