Characteristics of Intimate Partner Violence Incidents and the Environments in Which They Occur: Victim Reports to Responding Law Enforcement Officers

Andrew M. Campbell, Ralph Hicks, Shannon L. Thompson, Sarah Wiehe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to identify intimate partner violence (IPV) incidence rates, to quantify specific risks and characteristics of these incidents and the environments in which they occur, to identify how often children are present for or injured during these incidents, and to identify differences in victim reports of IPV to law enforcement officers at the scene of the incident compared with previously published reports of IPV from retropsective, anonymous surveys and domestic violence shelter interviews. Data gathered by responding law enforcement officers at the scene of the IPV incident were used to determine the prevalence of IPV incident characteristics and outcomes. Females aged 20 to 39 years, unmarried adults, and African Americans were disproportionately represented as victims of IPV in this study. IPV incidents were significantly more likely to occur on Saturdays and Sundays and during the months of May through August. Relationship durations for suspect–victim pairs were most often less than 12 months at the time of the incident. Weapon use and/or strangulation was common, occurring in 44% of all incidents. Minors (under age 18 years) were frequently present in the home during the IPV incident or a member of the household (59%). This study provides a unique perspective of IPV by utilizing data collected directly from the scene of the incident by first responders. Previously published characteristics of IPV were confirmed, but this study also brings to light new and critical information concerning this prevalent form of violence. Study findings relating to incidence, seasonality, severity, disproportionately affected populations, and child exposure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 1 2017



  • children exposed to domestic violence
  • disclosure of domestic violence
  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • law enforcment
  • witnessing partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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