Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Joanne Belknap, Ph.D.


Although a significant amount of literature addresses the perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV), there are conflicting results about how gender is related to offending and victimization, and there is no universally accepted model with which to analyze IPV incidents. In the same vein, there are questions about how police officers and other legal system actors should respond to IPV and whether current policies are effective in protecting victims and reducing recidivism. The aim of this study is to conduct a gendered analysis of IPV arrests in a small Western city, both in terms of the identified arrestees’ and complainants’ gender and the arresting police officers’ gender. A sample of 100 IPV-related arrest reports filed in a small Western city was coded both quantitatively and qualitatively to document how gender affects domestic violence (DV) arrests. In general, the results of this study support feminist views that IPV is gendered, but is also consistent with the family violence scholars given the numerous similarities that also exist between genders in the victimization and offending results. Additionally, the findings demonstrate arrestee differences based on both race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. Specifically, they suggest that among those arrested for DV, women are more likely than men to be in same-sex relationships, and Latino and African-American men are more likely to be arrested than White men. Importantly, the analysis also reveals inadequacy of officer recognition of mental health problems. Few differences in officer gender were found regarding these arrests. Finally, implications and suggestions for future direction are examined.