Police violence among women in four U.S. cities

Lisa Fedina, Bethany L. Backes, Hyun Jin Jun, Roma Shah, Boyoung Nam, Bruce G. Link, Jordan E. DeVylder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Police violence has been identified as a public health concern in the U.S., yet few studies have assessed the prevalence and nature of police violence among women. Furthermore, increasing evidence suggests that women reporting intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV) to police are often met with harmful or neglectful police responses and thus, women's exposures to police violence may be associated with experiences of IPV and SV; however, this has not yet been empirically tested. This study assesses lifetime prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of police violence among women and investigates potential associations between IPV, SV, and police violence. A cross-sectional survey was administered in four Eastern U.S. cities in March and April 2016 (N = 932). Physical, sexual, and psychological police victimization and neglect by police were assessed. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between IPV, SV, and police violence, adjusting for sociodemographics. Lifetime prevalence of physical (4%), sexual (3.3%), and psychological (14.4%) police violence and neglect (17.2%), show that a notable proportion of women experience police victimization, with significantly higher rates among racial and ethnic minority women. Women with IPV and SV histories had increased odds of experiencing most forms of police violence compared to women without IPV and SV histories. Findings suggest the need for gender-inclusive community-centered policing initiatives and other preventive efforts aimed at eliminating police violence. Police violence and victimization among women should also be considered in IPV and SV intervention and treatment responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Gender-based violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Police violence
  • Sexual violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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