When are victims unlikely to cooperate with the police?

Richard B. Felson, Brendan Lantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) are used to examine the tendency for victims of physical assault, sexual assault, and robbery to refuse to cooperate with the police (N=3,856,171). Analyses of physical assaults involving homosexual and heterosexual couples did not support the hypothesis that women attacked by their male partners are less likely to cooperate than victims of other assaults. Analyses of violent offenses more generally showed that victims of violence were more likely to refuse to cooperate if they knew the offender in any way than if the offender was a stranger. In the case of physical and sexual assault, these effects were mainly observed for minor incidents. Finally, victims of sexual assault were more likely to cooperate with the police than victims of physical assault. The findings suggest the importance of comparing the victim's reactions to intimate partner violence and sexual assault to their reactions to other offenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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