Arrest for domestic and other assaults

Richard B. Felson, Jeff Ackerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


We use the National Crime Victimization Survey to examine whether a suspect's relationship to an assault victim affects whether the police make an arrest. The results indicate that in cases of minor assaults the police are less likely to make an arrest when the suspect is an intimate partner of the victim than when the suspect is an identifiable stranger. However, the police are not as lenient when the suspect is an intimate partner as they are when the suspect is someone else the victim knows. Intimate partner suspects avoid arrest in part because they are less likely to commit their crimes in front of witnesses. In addition, victims who know the suspect in any way are reluctant to sign complaints, and this reluctance inhibits arrest. Men are less likely than women to sign complaints, particularly when the suspect is a partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-676
Number of pages22
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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