Although awareness of intimate partner violence (IPV) has increased, acknowledging that American military members and their families are particularly vulnerable to these forms of violence has been relatively recent. While scholars have shown that victims of IPV are unlikely to report their victimizations to the police (Venema Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(5), 872–899, 2016), virtually no attempts have been made to explore reporting crimes to the police by those in the military and/or victimized by someone in the military. In this paper, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data from 1992 to 2016 were used to examine whether incidents of intimate partner violence were less likely to be reported to the police if either the victim and/or offender were active duty military personnel. To ascertain whether military status affected decisions to report for other violent crimes, models predicting the probability of reporting to the police for robbery victimizations were also examined. This research revealed that a military connection significantly decreased the likelihood of IPV being reported compared to the civilian population, however, military status had no effect on the likelihood of robbery victimizations being reported. Results support the contention that the military culture may reduce the likelihood that IPV victimizations will be reported to police compared to their civilian counterparts. Because this was not true for robbery victimizations, policies directed at reducing the reluctance of IPV victims to seek justice through law enforcement channels are needed along with continued efforts to prevent IPV in the military specifically, and within the nation generally.
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Except for age, all variables were coded dichotomously,
The gender of the offender could not be included in IPV models because it was highly correlated with the gender of the victim. The vast majority of IPV victimizations against females were perpetrated by males. As a result, including both gender of the victim and offender in the same model produced multicollinearity.
Robbery victimizations perpetrated by multiple offenders that included both stranger and known offenders were coded as stranger.
This measurement of IPV did not include all forms of violence measured by the NCVS. Also, although it would have been ideal to examine police-reporting behavior of rape and sexual assault victimizations, there were too few cases that involved military personnel to compare in multivariate models.
Because our dependent variable is a dichotomy, displaying the percentage differentials across IV categories within a DV category is the appropriate statistical technique for examining bivariate relationships (Paternoster and Bachman 2018). This allows one to see the effect of the independent variable categories on the dependent variable (i.e. the percentage of victimizations reported to the police).
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Becker, P., Bachman, R. Intimate Partner Violence in the Military: an Investigation of Reporting Crimes to Law Enforcement Officials. J Fam Viol 35, 315–324 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00091-x
- Intimate partner violence
- Police reporting