Discriminatory Treatment of Women in Public Safety Research Paper

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Discriminatory Treatment of Women in Public Safety

Women can face gender discrimination in public safety on a number of different fronts. They can face job discrimination in workplaces that are related to public safety, such as police departments, fire departments, and emergency medical work units. They can also face discrimination as crime victims. Finally, they can face discrimination as perpetrators; being treated unfairly due to their gender. This research will focus on how women face discrimination as crime victims, specifically as victims of gender-based crimes. Domestic violence and sexual assault are primary public safety risks for women, and that women are, therefore, more likely to receive assistance for gender-based violence than men are.

Cooper, R. (2012). Lack of state accountability in acts of domestic violence: Understanding the contrast between the U.S. And international approaches. Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, 29(3), 657-689.

This article focuses on legal responses (criminal and civil) to domestic violence in the United States and whether those responses are in the best interests of domestic violence victims. In addition, it contrasts the treatment of domestic violence in the United States with the international treatment of domestic violence.

Franklin, E. (2010-2011). When domestic violence and sex-based discrimination collide: Civil rights approaches to combating domestic violence and its aftermath. DePaul Journal for Social Justice, 4(2), 335-348.

Franklin examines the intersection between civil liberties and domestic violence, suggesting that the failure to prosecute gender-based violence represents a civil rights violations for female victims.

Goldfarb, S. (2010). Symposium presentation: Rutgers School of Law- Newark and the history of women and the law: Viewing the Violence Against Women Act through the lenses of feminist legal theory. Women's Rights Law Reporter, 31(2/3), 198-205.

Goldfarb examines the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) through different feminist perspectives.

Hines, D. & Douglas, E. (2011). The reported availability of U.S. domestic violence services to victims who vary by age, sexual orientation, and gender. Partner Abuse, 2(1), 3-30.

Hines and Douglas examine the availability of domestic violence services to at-risk populations, finding that males and adolescents had the least access to domestic violence services.

Stark, E. (2010). Do violent acts equal abuse? Resolving the gender parity / asymmetry dilemma. Sex Roles, 62(3-4), 201-211.

Stark confronts the idea that acts of intimate partner violence equate into abuse, challenging the notion that women are more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than men. However, Stark suggests that gender parity in violence does not equate to gender parity in abuse because of the surrounding context for the violence.

Research Question

Are heterosexual women who report being victims of intimate partner violence within the last 12 months more likely than heterosexual men who report being victims of intimate partner violence in the last 12 months to subsequently receive assistance under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)? Hypothesis: Female victims of intimate partner violence are more likely than male victims of intimate partner violence to receive assistance under VAWA. Null hypothesis: There is no relationship between gender and the availability of assistance to domestic violence victims under VAWA.

The hypothesis was developed after observing that domestic violence differentially impacts women, despite some evidence that males and females are victims of intimate partner violence at similar rates. This suggests an additional component to domestic violence beyond an act of intimate partner violence. Federal and state responses to domestic violence have been aimed at stopping, not only intimate partner violence, but the social conditions that perpetuate a cycle of violence. Therefore, one would expect that female victims of intimate partner violence would be more likely to access VAWA resources because they are more likely to be victims of cyclical and systemic domestic violence when victimized by intimate partner violence, while men are more likely to be victims of isolated intimate partner assaults.


This project is a qualitative study that examined statistics that had been compiled for grant reporting and crime statistic reporting purposes in Brazos County, Texas for the year 2011. The participants in the study consisted of all adult victims of intimate partner violence where an opposite- sex partner was arrested for the underlying assault during the year 2011. Those numbers were then compared with the rates of accepted applications for protective orders through the Family Violence Unit of the Brazos County Attorney's Office, an office that is funded by VAWA. The percentages of male and female victims of domestic violence…

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