The influence of gender on police and professionals dealing with domestic violence and abuse in Greece and the impact on victims

Kravvariti, Vasiliki (2020) The influence of gender on police and professionals dealing with domestic violence and abuse in Greece and the impact on victims. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The aim of the Thesis is to investigate the influence of gender of victims and offenders on police and professionals dealing with domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in Greece, and the impact that their responses have on victims. This aim was achieved by first conducting a systematic literature review assessing the quality of 26 quantitative papers on police responses. Four or more of the studies identified victim factors as; gender of victim female, cohabiting with an abusive partner, the severity of the injury, and victim under the influence of alcohol or drugs to be associated with the arrest of the perpetrator. Four or more of the studies identified offender factors as; gender of offender male, the severity of the incident, use of weapon and offender under the influence of alcohol or drugs to be also linked to arrest. Overall, it was observed that male offenders were arrested more often than female offenders. Women were more likely to be arrested if they were intoxicated and/or had used a weapon. Evidence from the review showed on average female victims represent 86.2% and male victims represent 17.3% of DVA incident reports to the police. Of these, 63.2% of male offenders and 11.5% of female offenders were arrested.

Second, a 30-item questionnaire study of 358 police officers was carried out with eight major police services in Greece. Police officers indicated that female victims usually suffered from severe physical violence/ Grievous bodily harm (GBH) (42.9%) and psychological abuse (26.5%), whereas male victims were most likely to disclose minor physical injuries and verbal abuse (49.4%) and less psychological violence (9.6%). An arrest was the most common response for offenders of both female and male victims (50.6% and 59.8% respectively). Third, a similar 30-item questionnaire study of 327 professionals was carried out with five DVA support organizations in Greece. Professionals also reported female victims suffered mostly from severe physical violence/GBH (32.5% of respondents), whereas male victims were most likely to disclose to the police minor/moderate physical injuries (15%).

The next stage of the research investigated the differences in female and male victim experiences after making a report to the Greek police about DVA and whether these experiences differ in the presence or absence of children. A heterosexual victim sample consisting of 75 participants was recruited from five agencies offering counselling and support for DVA victims in Greece. All participants completed a 59-item questionnaire. Comparing 58 female and 17 male victims, with nine similar demographic characteristics; there were 18 significant differences (p<0.001) and 13 trends (p<0.002 to p< 0.05) found for 31 out of 50 questions. Each indicated that more concern was shown for women than men in the police interview, use and availability of weapons, injuries and evidence, arrest, protective orders, information and advice provided, and the police crime report. Only questions related to safeguarding children and witnesses showed no differences. A comparison of questionnaires from 38 female victims with children and 20 female victims with no children determined that the influence of children in the home on police responses was small and mostly related to information, advice, and actions to safeguard the child(ren). Regardless of gender, 42.9% of victims reported that the children were abused as well, and four out of five participants claimed that their children had witnessed partner abuse.

The research then investigated differences between female and male victims of DVA in relation to factors that influence whether victims stay or leave the abusive relationship (AR). Responses from 36 female and 18 male DVA victims were compared on a 74-item questionnaire. Female victims appeared more vulnerable than male victims with a significantly higher proportion of them suffering from internal inhibitors of fear, helplessness, self-blame and low self-esteem. Regarding external factors; female victims had significantly fewer financial resources and social support networks with more controlling partners than male victims. Regardless of victim gender, all victims reported that they had suffered from anxiety and depression, lying about injuries, giving up on change and excusing the abuse. The final piece of research explored two groups of adult victims: 34 who remain with their abusive partner (‘high risk’) and 20 who have left their abusive partner (‘low risk’). A logistic regression model indicated that a 9-factor checklist, with a cut-off score of 4 or more, could predict outcome in 88.9% of cases. Risk factors for staying included female gender, unemployment status, not close to parents, not close to friends, stopped seeing friends due to partner, pleased partner to avoid being hurt, physically tried to stop the abuse, belief that partner will change, feelings of staying in or returning to the abusive relationship.

Overall, the research found profound differences between the experiences reported by women compared to men for police responses to the victim. Evidence is provided to support the notion that male victims in Greece are discriminated against, as they do not fulfil the gender stereotype expected by police officers. This suggests that more police training is required to ensure gender ‘neutral’ police responses when attending a domestic dispute or responding to a report of DVA.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Browne, Kevin
Duff, Simon
Keywords: Domestic violence and abuse, male and female victims, police officers, professionals, gender differences
Subjects: W Medicine and related subjects (NLM Classification) > WA Public health
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine
Item ID: 61104
Depositing User: Kravvariti, Vasiliki
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 13:20
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 13:20

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