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†† Witnesses refuse to cooperate with police for reasons that are not related to intimidation. New York: Victim Services Agency.[Full Text] Elliott, R. “Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses: A Review of the Literature.” In Speaking Up for Justice.
For example, a general lack of trust in the police may deter some witnesses from cooperating. “Willingness to Report Crimes: The Role of Ethnic Group Membership and Community Efficacy.” Crime & Delinquency 49(4): 564-580.
In addition, research has shown that a desire for privacy, a desire to protect the offender from criminal prosecution, emotional attachments, economic dependence, or a desire to protect children may also deter victims of domestic violence from cooperating with police (Felson et al. Witness intimidation takes many forms, including: Threats are much more common than actual physical violence and are in fact just as effective in deterring cooperation. Although some witnesses experience a single incident of intimidation, intimidation may also involve an escalating series of threats and actions that become more violent over time. Other witnesses do not experience intimidation directly, but rather believe that retaliation will occur if they cooperate with police. “Examining the Problem of Witness Intimidation.” Judicature 66(10): 439-447.
Either way, they are deterred from offering relevant information that might assist police and prosecutors. “Balancing the Anonymity of Threatened Witnesses Versus a Defendant’s Right of Confrontation: The Waiver Doctrine After Alvarado.” San Diego Law Review 39(4): 1165-1252.
However, repeat victims may believe that their subsequent victimization was in retaliation for reporting the initial crime, even where intimidation was not the motive. Citizens who witness or are victimized by crime are sometimes reluctant to report incidents to police or to assist in the prosecution of offenders.† Such reluctance may be in response to a perceived or actual threat of retaliation by the offender or his or her associates, or may be the result of more generalized community norms that discourage residents from cooperating with police and prosecutors.†† In some communities, close ties between witnesses, offenders, and their families and friends may also deter witnesses from cooperating; these relationships can provide a vitally important context for understanding witness intimidation. "Reasons for Reporting and Not Reporting Domestic Violence to the Police." Criminology 40(3): 617-647.