‘This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief’: a provisional assessment of the utility of police victim statements in the qualitative understanding of domestic violence and abuse

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  • 1 Open University, , UK
  • | 2 University of Cumbria, , UK
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Understanding the factors that influence the decisions made by victims of domestic violence and abuse (DVA) has, for some time, been a key area of focus for professionals working within the Criminal Justice System and academic researchers alike. Using female victims’ reported decision-making around incidences of DVA as an illustrative case study, this article analyses N=120 police victim statements (PVSs), collected by officers in one force in Northwest England. The usefulness of a PVS as a form of qualitative research data to better understand DVA is examined by means of a deductive content analysis.

Drawing on the literature addressing decision-making by victims in DVA, a simple coding frame was developed to provide a structure for the initial investigation of the PVSs to examine the type of data contained in these legal documents. Findings suggest that, while they have some limitations, PVSs are a valuable and currently under-utilised form of qualitative data to research and understand victim decision-making in DVA.

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  • 1 Open University, , UK
  • | 2 University of Cumbria, , UK

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