This research involved interviews with women who had experienced intimate partner violence IPV or sexual violence (SV) in the previous year to explore structural and community influences on reporting to police in Baltimore U.S.A. Both gender-based and race-based inequities at the structural and community levels discouraged women from police contact following IPV/SV. Structural influences deterring police reporting included discriminatory police misconduct, perceived lack of concern for citizens, power disparities, fear of harm from police, and IPV/SV-related minimisation and victim-blaming. There were also community social norms that discouraged police contact, which was enforced by stringent sanctions. This undermines women’s safety and access to justice and pits women’s safety against community priorities of avoiding police contact for fear of the disproportionate incarceration of perpetrators.