Victim Injury, Emotional Distress, and Satisfaction with the Police: Evidence for a Victim-Centered, Emotionally-Based Police Response

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Journal of the Institute of Justice & International Studies




One central measure of legitimacy and professionalism of the criminal justice system is satisfaction with police encounters. Despite the relevance of satisfaction with the police in creating a fair and respected criminal justice system, little is known about what influences satisfaction with the police beyond demographic characteristics and procedural justice measures. This study explores victim satisfaction with the police using the 2009-2010 British Crime Survey. Specifically, the current research focuses on how emotional distress, a common reaction to victimization, is related to satisfaction with the police. Results reveal that emotional distress decreases satisfaction with the police and also interacts with confidence in the police such that individuals who are more distressed but have favorable attitudes of the police are satisfied with their encounters. The results suggest that a victim-centered police response, which is attentive to victim emotions, would provide an avenue to increasing police legitimacy and professionalism.