College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Hostage-taking in the context of domestic violence: Some case examples

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Publication Title

Journal of Family Violence

ISSN

0885-7482

Volume

20

Issue/No.

1

Abstract

Initial reports of domestic violence are generally made to law enforcement officers who must respond and intervene. A subset of these episodes involves cases in which the victim, and, in many instances her child(ren), have been taken hostage by her husband or partner. Moreover, there are indications that the number of such incidents is growing. The purpose of this project was twofold: (1) to provide one of the first reports on the prevalence and characteristics of these events, and (2) to more closely analyze domestic crisis (hostage) situations using actual case examples. All information was obtained from the Hostage Barricade Database System (HOBAS) of the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit. HOBAS is a postincident information collection tool which stores historical data from law enforcement agencies across the nation on hostage/barricade incidents. An examination of this database yielded different types of domestic hostage-taking acts and outcomes (e.g., tactical vs. negotiated resolutions, survival vs. death/injury of perpetrator and/or victim[s]). Implications of the findings, for future crisis negotiation efforts directed toward nonviolent resolution of these high-risk critical incidents, are discussed.

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