Intervention in Domestic Violence Situations: Police Attitudes and Beliefs

Ana Isabel Sani, Alexandra Coelho, Celina Manita


Aim: The present study aims to understand police officers’ beliefs regarding the phenomenon of domestic violence against women and assess how this could be connected with the way they act.
Method: The sample consists of 453 police officers, from the Metropolitan Police Command of Public Security Police of Oporto. They were administered the Marital Violence Beliefs Scale [Escala de Crenças sobre Violência Conjugal] (E.C.V.C.) and the Intervention Scale which compose the Police Attitudes Scales (E.A.P.). Results: The results revealed a greater disagreement regarding the set of legitimizing myths of marital violence and a greater percentage of participants oriented to perform service procedures (unconditional action, regardless of the victim's intention to report the crime), especially when faced with physical violence situations. The correlational results suggest that higher levels of legitimizing beliefs of marital violence are associated with a more conditioned police action. The comparative analysis of two groups with more or less legitimating beliefs about violence against women, found that there is no statistically significant difference in the type of police action in domestic violence situations. Conclusion: The results support the association between beliefs about the phenomenon of domestic violence and police action in these cases.


police; beliefs; attitudes; intervention; domestic violence