01 July 2019

“You do not think of me as a human being”: Race and gender inequities intersect to discourage police reporting of violence against women

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.