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Policing Domestic Violence: The Problem-Solving Paradigm

Sherman, Lawrence W
June 4, 2015

Source: (1996) Paper presented at the conference ‘Problem-Solving Policing as Crime Prevention’. Stockholm, 1996.

Policing domestic violence is the most scientifically developed application of the
problem-solving paradigm. Its current state reveals many basic challenges to the
paradigm as a tool for crime prevention. While there has been great progress in adopting
the goal of preventing domestic violence, there has been less understanding and use of
the paradigm’s methods for accomplishing that goal. Almost no work has been devoted
to defining the problems more precisely (classification). Analyses of risk factors have
been approached with basic errors of logic (prediction). Evaluations of police responses,
while scientifically rigorous, have been unwelcome due in part to their complexity
(causation). In the short run, both violence prevention and science can be fostered by
better measurement of domestic violence trends. In the long run, progress in identifying more effective policing strategies for prevention and control can be achieved only by a
culture of science in policing, just as medicine was transformed by such a cultural
change in the early Twentieth Century, in which trial and error becomes the norm for
crime prevention.


AbstractCourtsDomestic ViolenceFamiliesPolicePolicyRJ OfficeStatutes and LegislationTeachers and Students
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