Rapid Video Responses (RVR) vs. Face-to-Face Responses by Police Officers to Domestic Abuse Victims: a Randomised Controlled Trial

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Rothwell, Stacey 
McFadzien, Kent 
Strang, Heather 
Hooper, Graham 
Pughsley, Alan 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleResearch Question</jats:title> jats:pCan police increase victim satisfaction and improve efficiency by providing consenting domestic abuse victims, jats:italicif their offenders are not present</jats:italic>, with an immediate video link to a uniformed police officer, rather than waiting for face-to-face police attendance?</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleData</jats:title> jats:pEligible and consenting cases for this block-randomised trial (jats:italicN</jats:italic> =517) included 357 calls from female victims of intimate partner violence (FIPV), 57 calls from female victims of non-IPV abuse, 83 calls from male victims of IPV and 21 calls from male victims of non-IPV abuse. Cases were screened for eligibility before police call takers asked all callers for consent to a video meeting with a police officer (if one was available for random assignment).</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pConsenting callers (560 of 749 of eligible callers = 75%) agreed to be randomly assigned to either ‘business as usual’ (BAU) for such calls or a rapid video response (RVR), by immediate transfer of their call to a uniformed police officer visible on a video link (to whom the victim was also visible); only 69% (517 of 749) were randomly assigned due to limited RVR availability. Follow-up interviews with all 511 assigned callers consenting to interviews (99% of those assigned) were completed with 80.5 % (jats:italicN</jats:italic> = 416) of those callers across both treatment groups, with 82.2% in RVR and 78.7% in BAU, and near identical rates for female IPV victims as for the combined samples. Official records on arrest and other short-term case outcomes were also collected. Data were analysed in four blocks of separate random assignment sequences for each of the categories of callers. Across all four blocks combined, 94% of the RVR-assigned victims received a completed RVR resolution; 67% of the BAU victims received a face-to-face contact with a police officer, with other BAU responses by voice phone but not video.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleFindings</jats:title> jats:pRapid video response (RVR) to these calls was an average of 656 times faster in responding to the victims (3 min) than the average BAU time for trying to deploy a police car (1969 min). RVR clearly produced higher victim satisfaction among female IPV victims (89% in the RVR group) compared to control victims (78% in the BAU group) (jats:italicp</jats:italic>=0.01). Arrest rates for suspects were 50% higher in the RVR group (24%) relative to the BAU group (16%), with three times more arrests during follow-up investigations on RVR cases. Trust and confidence in the police improved more for abuse victims receiving RVR than those receiving BAU.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusions</jats:title> jats:pIn this test, RVR helped domestic abuse victims far more rapidly than BAU. The innovation improved domestic abuse victims’ satisfaction, and their trust and confidence in the police, who made more arrests after RVR than BAU. Based on these conclusions, Kent Police have launched RVR county-wide as a new standard offering for domestic abuse victims to select.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

48 Law and Legal Studies, 4805 Legal Systems, 4402 Criminology, 44 Human Society, Clinical Trials and Supportive Activities, Clinical Research, 8.1 Organisation and delivery of services, 8 Health and social care services research, Mental health
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Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC