Understanding the factors that predict victim retraction in police reported allegations of intimate partner violence

Emma Sleath, L. L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: A large number of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), who report their victimisation to the police, subsequently either retract or disengage from the police investigation. Given that we have a very limited understanding of victim retraction/disengagement in IPV cases, this study addresses this gap by identifying the victim, perpetrator, and offence characteristics that predict retraction/disengagement. Method: Five hundred and twenty-four cases of police reported IPV were analysed to examine victim, perpetrator, and offence characteristics that may predict retraction or disengagement as well as examining the reasons given for retracting/disengaging from the police investigation. Results: The results indicated a high level of retraction or disengagement from police investigations. Victim and perpetrator characteristics did not predict retraction or disengagement; however, in comparison with cases where the victims maintain engagement with the case, a number of offence related characteristics (e.g., risk assessment level) did predict retraction and disengagement. Conclusions: Victim retraction and disengagement is a significant issue in the successful prosecution of IPV cases, and the findings suggest that certain offence related characteristics increase the likelihood of victim retraction/disengagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140–149
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


  • Retraction
  • Withdrawal
  • Victim
  • Domestic Violence
  • Police


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