Policing intimate partner violence: The ‘golden thread’ of discretion

Charlotte Barlow, Sandra Walklate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper offers a critical appreciation of pro-arrest-positive policing policies towards intimate partner violence (IPV). It examines the extent to which such policies, and the research associated with them, have operated
within a partial understanding of discretion, which has paid detailed attention to the response of the front-line officer and how that response might be changed either by improved training and/or by rule tightening. Such approaches
assume that policing IPV is separate and separable from policing other forms of violence(s) and fail to recognize the wider context of the policing task. This paper makes the case for a more holistic understanding of discretion (to include
senior officers) as a way of promoting improved responses to IPV. This also means directing attention to policies and
practices in relation to IPV to include police engagement with broader agency and societal responses to IPV. This is the
point at which a holistic ‘golden thread’ of discretion can be found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-413
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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