Police officers, women and intimate partner violence: giving primacy to social context
Murdoch University School of Law
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Law and Justice
Evidence suggests that police inadvertently or otherwise often re-victimise women involved in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). This paper explores the complex relationship between women and police officers at the interface of IPV. It discusses possible reasons for the difficulties abused women continue to face when in contact with the police, who are state agents vested with international human rights obligations. Conclusions are drawn suggesting that police responsiveness should reflect knowledge and understanding that IPV is a gendered issue within a social context. As such, the police are as likely as anyone else to be perpetrators of this form of violence in their homes. Further, this paper suggests an informed approach may protect women from arrest and ensure the police fulfil their tasks as peace-keepers and protectors of individuals in need. As a consequence, women victims are more likely to have their status acknowledged and to seek help from the police when endangered by IPV.