In domestic battery cases in the USA, a major reason for uncertainty shown by female victims for lodging complaints was that male officers would usually side with the male attacker. During experiments carried out over a period of 18 months, the officers selected subjects at random and interviewed them to find if they had repeated the offense again. Those that had not been arrested were more likely to repeat the offense than those who had been arrested. Besides this, people who were unemployed really did not care whether they were arrested or not. Arrests prevented people in large cities from repeating their offenses because a very small number of violent offenders are repeat offenders.
Those who managed to elude arrest were deterred by the issuance of warrants. Police are also aware where discretion can be used and what laws to implement keeping in mind which cases prosecutors will press charges against, and which judges will hand down a significant sentence. Police also base their arrests on previous experiences and according to each individual situation. Police can exercise considerable discretion when they need to make a principled decision on how best to handle a call regarding domestic violence, especially when attending to a call which involves another police officer.
The basic belief of most Americans is that household matters are private and should be handled accordingly. However, sometimes police officers discourage the victims from pressing charges because they believe that this is a matter for the family, not the system to handle. If the police officer pressurizes the complainant from pressing charges, then he is going against the norms of community policing because he is not serving the interests of the community but rather adhering to maintaining the conspiracy of pushing incidents prevalent in police departments. Police discretion is an important part of the everyday job of policemen.
Every single day, police officers come across incidences where they must use their discretionary powers whether to arrest the offender or release them with a citation or a word of warning. This discretion is quite powerful and police officers must be careful not to misuse this power. This discretion is severely tested in cases of domestic violence. It is possible that both parties are equally responsible, and both may have sustained injuries. If both parties are equally to blame, then both parties could be arrested, or separated for some time to allow the situation and their tempers to cool down. When making the decision to arrest or just warn, especially in domestic situations, the officer usually has to consider the children of the couple, and the problems they could face if one or both parents were arrested