Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Police Reporting for Partner Violence in the National Crime Victimization Survey and Survivor-Led Interpretation

Charvonne N. Holliday, Geoffrey David Kahn, Roland J. Thorpe, Roma Shah, Zaynab Hameeduddin, Michele R. Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite compromising women’s health and safety, intimate partner violence (IPV) is among the most underreported crimes, and our understanding of factors that drive police reporting by race/ethnicity is underdeveloped. The purpose of this study is to examine racial/ethnic differences in self-reporting IPV to police. Race/ethnicity-stratified models identified predictors of reporting IPV to police among recent, female survivors (n = 898) in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS; 2011-15). Focus groups (n = 3) with recent survivors (n = 19) in Baltimore, MD (2018), contextualized results. Black women in the NCVS were twice as likely to report IPV to police relative to White women (AOR = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.01–4.15). In race/ethnicity-stratified models, police reporting significantly increased with increasing age between 18 and < 35 years (AOR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.05–1.33) for Black women, and with IPV-related injury for Black (AOR = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.10–5.71) and Hispanic women (AOR = 2.87, 95% CI: 1.22–6.71); Hispanics with less than a high school education were least likely to report (AOR = 0.24, 95% CI: 0.07–0.91). Focus groups explained racial/ethnic influences on reporting including a culture of silence and discrimination, socioeconomic status, and social desirability. We identified influences on reporting IPV to police that vary by race/ethnicity using national data in context to an urban environment. Results demonstrate the need to enhance equity in survivors’ health and public safety through training and organizational change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-480
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Community health
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Police
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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