Police culture and the handling of domestic violence: an urban/rural comparison

Criminology Research Council grant ; (41/93-4)

This report describes the culture of uniformed police in Tasmania. It is based on five months' fieldwork with the police in southern Tasmania. The report examines the influence of police culture on the handling of domestic violence.

The report discusses the way in which the police make decisions about how they handle domestic violence incidents.

At the operational level the relationship between the police and the other agencies dealing with domestic violence is poor. Uniformed police officers feel they get inadequate support from both the agencies directly involved in dealing with domestic violence and also the other agencies, such as the Child Protection Unit whom they may have to call upon for assistance. In order to change the relationship between the support services and the police, and to improve the overall handling of domestic violence cases, the main recommendations made in this report can be summarised as follows:

  • that an integrated domestic violence awareness program be introduced involving members of all relevant agencies;
  • that a domestic violence coordination unit be established;
  • that a community based approach to handling domestic violence be adopted in the rural areas;
  • that governments commit adequate funds to programs relating to domestic violence in order to provide good services;
  • that an appropriate program be introduced for perpetrators of domestic violence as part of an integrated approach;
  • that the provision of services by those agencies peripherally involved with domestic violence be reviewed.