Advanced

Police Persuasion: Making Battered Women File a Complaint

Åkerström, Malin LU (1998) In International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 12(1). p.62-73
Abstract
A common theme in sociological literature on "domestic violence" is that police officers view such cases as private problems and not as objects for proper policework. Thus, it is argued that police officers interactionally discourage arrest in domestic disturbance cases.

In an etnographic study of Swedish police officers, however, police officers, instead of discouraging arrest or filing of complaints, often engaged in various interactional, mainly conversational, strategies to make a case in events where women were said to have been abused in a relationship. One encounter between one police officer and one woman is presented to illustrate this tendency where the interactional practice of a persuasion, aiming to produce a written... (More)
A common theme in sociological literature on "domestic violence" is that police officers view such cases as private problems and not as objects for proper policework. Thus, it is argued that police officers interactionally discourage arrest in domestic disturbance cases.

In an etnographic study of Swedish police officers, however, police officers, instead of discouraging arrest or filing of complaints, often engaged in various interactional, mainly conversational, strategies to make a case in events where women were said to have been abused in a relationship. One encounter between one police officer and one woman is presented to illustrate this tendency where the interactional practice of a persuasion, aiming to produce a written complaint, is examined. The police in this case uses a trajectory of "Something has to be done" which is embedded in symbolic and concrete forms of “doing sympathy”. This case illustrates one particular persuasion strategy, answering to Lisa's stance. This is built on a trajectory, in which a vague formulation of "something has to be done" builds up to the advice that filing a complaint is the logical step to take: maneuvering Lisa into agreeing that filing a complaint fits the situation. A sequence of "yes" answers by getting a person to agree on some general plane, then going for a "yes" on a more contentious issue is a course used in other legal settings too, as suggested by Paul Drews studies..

This persuasive tendency is understood as a result both of being exposed to courses, lectures, and mass media, that encourages the police view women exposed to violence as a serious matter and “to do something,” this being defined as acting in a formal manner. When they resorted to the action of 'mediation', which was invoked either when the cases did not seem to qualify for being accepted for future processing in the judicial system.

Police officers' work rationale involved applying interactional persuasion work in cases which were seen as qualifying. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
battered women, filing a complaint, rhetorical strategies, police, sociology, persuasion, sociologi
in
International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
volume
12
issue
1
pages
62 - 73
publisher
Oxford University Press
ISSN
1464-3707
DOI
10.1093/lawfam/12.1.62
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
4e24f7aa-4ae5-4716-a56d-f02ca341a01a (old id 698994)
date added to LUP
2008-01-25 13:08:15
date last changed
2016-04-16 03:51:08
@article{4e24f7aa-4ae5-4716-a56d-f02ca341a01a,
  abstract     = {A common theme in sociological literature on "domestic violence" is that police officers view such cases as private problems and not as objects for proper policework. Thus, it is argued that police officers interactionally discourage arrest in domestic disturbance cases. <br/><br>
In an etnographic study of Swedish police officers, however, police officers, instead of discouraging arrest or filing of complaints, often engaged in various interactional, mainly conversational, strategies to make a case in events where women were said to have been abused in a relationship. One encounter between one police officer and one woman is presented to illustrate this tendency where the interactional practice of a persuasion, aiming to produce a written complaint, is examined. The police in this case uses a trajectory of "Something has to be done" which is embedded in symbolic and concrete forms of “doing sympathy”. This case illustrates one particular persuasion strategy, answering to Lisa's stance. This is built on a trajectory, in which a vague formulation of "something has to be done" builds up to the advice that filing a complaint is the logical step to take: maneuvering Lisa into agreeing that filing a complaint fits the situation. A sequence of "yes" answers by getting a person to agree on some general plane, then going for a "yes" on a more contentious issue is a course used in other legal settings too, as suggested by Paul Drews studies..<br/><br>
This persuasive tendency is understood as a result both of being exposed to courses, lectures, and mass media, that encourages the police view women exposed to violence as a serious matter and “to do something,” this being defined as acting in a formal manner. When they resorted to the action of 'mediation', which was invoked either when the cases did not seem to qualify for being accepted for future processing in the judicial system. <br/><br>
Police officers' work rationale involved applying interactional persuasion work in cases which were seen as qualifying.},
  author       = {Åkerström, Malin},
  issn         = {1464-3707},
  keyword      = {battered women,filing a complaint,rhetorical strategies,police,sociology,persuasion,sociologi},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {62--73},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family},
  title        = {Police Persuasion: Making Battered Women File a Complaint},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/12.1.62},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {1998},
}