Attrition in Cases of Violence Against Women Reported to the Alaska State Troopers
Group: University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center
The Alaska statutory requirement that arrests be made for all crimes involving domestic violence is rooted in research that suggests mandatory arrest has a specific deterrent effect in cases of misdemeanor assault committed by males against their female intimate partners. In this article we consider police, prosecutor, and court decision-making about intimate partner violence (IPV) cases initially dealt with by the Alaska State Troopers in 2004. The results presented allow us to consider the attrition of cases of IPV assault reported to the Troopers and prosecuted by the Alaska Department of Law. Although Alaska’s mandatory arrest law is the only policy specifically requiring official response to IPV cases, it appears that the law’s spirit of full enforcement guided other decisions regarding IPV cases as they continued through the criminal justice process in 2004. While attrition still occurred, it happened at a rate that was substantially less than what has been found outside of Alaska, indicating that IPV is taken seriously in rural Alaska. This appears to be as true for Alaska Native victims as it is for non-Native victims and it does not seem to be affected by the difficulties of travel to conduct investigations.
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