Testing the Link Between Child Maltreatment and Family Violence Among Police Officers

Publication Date


Document Type



Zavala, E. (2013). Testing the link between child maltreatment and family violence among police officers. Crime & Delinquency, 59(3), 468-483. doi:10.1177/0011128710389584


The purpose of this study is to document the relationship between physical abuse during childhood and family violence among a group of police officers from the Baltimore Police Department in the United States. Analyzing data from the Police and Domestic Violence in Police Families in Baltimore, Maryland, 1997-1999, this study found a positive relationship between physical abuse and family violence toward spouses and children. Specifically, this study found that police officers who indicated that their parents where physical with them were more likely to report being physical with their spouse and children. They were also more likely to report yelling or shouting toward family members. This study shows a positive relationship between physical abuse and involvement in family violence, and increases our knowledge regarding the cycle of violence in police families. This study points to the need for better recognition of physical abuse and the negative consequences children are likely to endure.