Policing domestic violence: A review of the evidence


This review examines what is known about the policing of domestic violence. It covers six domains of police involvement in domestic violence—workforce development, reporting to police, first response, prevention of further domestic violence, investigative responses and charging of perpetrators. A systematic search of 10 literature databases, with targeted follow-up searches, identified 346 eligible studies. Findings indicate that police can influence the likelihood of further violence, victim satisfaction and wellbeing, and criminal justice outcomes. Improvements to the policing of domestic violence should focus on optimising the implementation and effectiveness of police responses—specifically, targeting responses at the incidents, victims and perpetrators where they are likely to have the greatest impact; developing the workforce; embracing new technologies and innovative approaches; minimising bureaucratic or administrative barriers to effective police responses; and working closely with victims.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms
  • Abstract
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Workforce development
  • Reporting to police
  • First response
  • Preventing repeat domestic violence
  • Investigative responses
  • Decision to charge
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix A: Search terms
  • Appendix B: Methodological summary tools
  • Appendix C: Methodological summaries
  • Appendix D: Predictors of reporting