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Unprepared for information interactions: abuse survivors and police

Jeanine Finn (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Lynn Westbrook (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Tiffany Chen (University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Priscilla Mensah (University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Working towards a broader understanding of information provision by agencies responding to crisis situations, the aim of this paper is to examine mandated information provision on the part of law enforcement to survivors of intimate partner violence at the scene of an emergency response.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a detailed content analysis of 1,851 documents supplied by local law enforcement agencies from 755 US cities. A 29‐element coding framework was developed to identify five key content areas of information: the nature of abuse, survivor norms, police information, legal options, and community resources.

Findings

The best represented content areas related to police information, legal options, and community resources. Information on the nature of abuse and survivor hood was dramatically less well represented. Law enforcement understandably privileges that information which involves immediate, concrete action and within which the officer may have a responsibility (for example, to obtain a temporary restraining order). Correlations between city size and the presence of information elements were minimal, while several significant correlations based on region were noted.

Originality/value

This is the first nationwide study of the information that police are required to provide to survivors of intimate partner violence. Understanding the features of this seldom‐discussed yet vital interaction can help IS professionals support practices and protocols of other agencies responding to crisis situations who may be struggling with minimal preparation for information interactions.

Keywords

Citation

Finn, J., Westbrook, L., Chen, T. and Mensah, P. (2011), "Unprepared for information interactions: abuse survivors and police", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 67 No. 6, pp. 933-957. https://doi.org/10.1108/00220411111183537

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited