Lessons from reporting domestic violence during Covid-19: The case of in-person vs virtual appointments

Emma Richardson, Eva Maria Martika, Elizabeth Stokoe

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paper


Despite the high prevalence of domestic violence, and the very serious individual and societal impacts, rates of help-seeking across Europe are generally low (Lelaurain, Graziani &Lo Monaco, 2017). Reporting violence to the police is the first step in accessing criminal justice, yet victims face numerous well-documented barriers to disclosure. For those who do report, attrition rates are high and conviction rates are low (ONS, 2020).

We conducted a conversation analysis of ~200 digitally recorded reports of domestic abuse made to an English police service prior to and during the pandemic. The aim of the project was to understand how callers request help and how call handler’s subsequent responses impact on the progression of the calls.

We found that, when offered referral appointments to meet police officers to progress their case, callers resisted such offers. These were in what we now refer to as ‘in-person’ appointments. During the pandemic, while social distancing restrictions were in place, callers were invited to make their reports virtually, either on the telephone or via a video link. The virtual appointments were not resisted in the same way. Our findings highlight how virtual appointments might increase access to the criminal justice system for those experiencing domestic violence.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 8 Sept 2021
EventInternational Investigative Interviewing Research Group: iIIRG Virtual 2021 -
Duration: 8 Jan 202210 Jan 2022


ConferenceInternational Investigative Interviewing Research Group
Abbreviated titleiIIRG


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