From Reporting to Retracting in Domestic Violence: Mapping victim decision-making as they journey through the Criminal Justice System

Hopkins, Anna
(2020) From Reporting to Retracting in Domestic Violence: Mapping victim decision-making as they journey through the Criminal Justice System. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

[thumbnail of 962196999_September2019.pdf] Text
962196999_September2019.pdf - Unspecified

Download (1MB) | Preview


Domestic violence (DV) is a problem that continues to blight many victims’ lives and puzzle those agencies offering support in terms of establishing the most effective intervention strategies. Policing DV from a positive action policy framework poses complications for victims’ decision-making around reporting and retracting their complaints of abuse. The work delineated in this thesis examines victims’ decision-making behaviour through the medium of a thematic analysis of initial and retraction statements provided to Greater Manchester Police. It is the first time DV victim statements have been analysed in this manner for the purpose of gaining further insights into understanding their decision-making behaviour. A total of 240 statements, both initial and retraction statements from female victims and male abusers are included in the analysis. In analysing these documents, new insights are gained into reasons pertaining to victims’ decisions to report and leave their abusive relationships as captured in the initial statements. The main themes of the initial statements focus on decisions concerning the reporting and leaving of their abusers. More minor themes (in terms of their frequency of occurrence) highlight victims’ feelings about their abusers, how they manage their safety and the various forms of dissonance that influence and at times impede the decision-making process. The cognitive dissonance theory is used as a theoretical framework from which to understand some of the decisions captured in the data. Subsequent analyses are conducted to establish if there are any differences between the initial statements that do not result in a subsequent retraction statement and those that are retracted. Those victims who do not retract their statements show higher levels of fear, are already separated, and more of these victims are employed compared to the women who retracted their initial statements. The penultimate part of the thesis explores the motivations of victims for retracting their statements. Two main categories were found: external and internal reasons with sub-themes relating to each of the two categories. Finally, suggestions for a content-based statement taking framework are offered and implications for intervention strategies are made based on the findings.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decision-making, Domestic violence, Fear, Interviewing, Policy recommendations, Positive action policy, Cognitive dissonance, Retraction, Thematic analysis
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law and Social Justice
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2020 09:05
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 23:49
DOI: 10.17638/03090549