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January 16, 2009

Rural Domestic Violence Article

This post concerns an Article I recently wrote in the Working Papers Series on SSRN.  The Article is based on a qualitative study performed in rural Illinois concerning police enforcement of domestic violence laws.

Although it does not relate to LGBT rights, it may interest some of my readers.  Here is the link to the SSRN page.

Here is the Abstract:

The need for specific inquiry into rural domestic violence is pressing
because rural survivors face barriers to legal and economic access,
assistance, and development that are compounded by their isolated
physical location. However, there is a paucity of legal discourse
addressing the issue of rural domestic violence. In particular, it is
important to consider law enforcement response to domestic violence
calls because police officers often serve as the gateway to the legal
community through first-response action. This Article, which was
the first focus-group based study of survivors’ perceptions of law
enforcement response to domestic violence in the rural Midwest,
points out the disparity between law and action in rural Illinois as
detailed by the survivor narratives. The survivors participating in
focus groups detailed ineffective police responses to domestic
violence calls. The gap between law and practice is expounded by
interposing the legal obligations provided by Illinois statute with the
narratives of police inaction and failure to arrest. Then, a method of
strengthening police responses to domestic violence calls in rural
areas is proposed in order to respond to the issues presented in the
survivor narratives. The proposal includes the use of detailed first
response forms that will encourage officers to engage in risk
assessment techniques in order to better gage whether an arrest is
warranted in response to a domestic violence call. Additionally, the
form will serve as a reminder of statutorily mandated duties imposed
on law enforcement officers. Through the use of these methods, rural
officers can respond more effectively to domestic violence calls and
better serve rural survivors of domestic abuse.

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