‘The police have given up’: An empirical examination of covictims’ beliefs about cold case homicide investigations

Stretesky, Paul, Cope, Kathryn, O'Connor Shelley, Tara, Hogan, Michael and Unnithan, N. Prabha (2016) ‘The police have given up’: An empirical examination of covictims’ beliefs about cold case homicide investigations. Violence and Victims, 31 (1). pp. 135-154. ISSN 0886-6708

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-14-00017


While the experiences of homicide covictims are studied with some frequency, relatively little is known about the forms and determinates of secondary victimization among cold case homicide covictims. This work examines the widespread perception by cold case homicide covictims that police have given up trying to solve their loved one’s murder by drawing upon a symbolic interactionism perspective. Specifically, a random sample (n = 65) of cold case homicide covictims is studied to determine if, and how, different forms of communication may be important in their perceptions that the police are no longer investigating the murder. Ordered logistic regression analyses indicate that perceived importance of the information communicated, frequency of police contact, and satisfaction with communication efforts by police decrease covictims’ perceptions that police have given up on the investigation. These inverse correlations persist despite statistical controls and have important implications for the bereavement of covictims and for crime rates.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: unsolved homicides, sense-making, communication, emotional labour Unresolved Homicides; Murder
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Professor Paul Stretesky
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2015 10:19
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 16:18
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/21486

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