Date of Submission


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Rosemarie Lillie Macias, Ph.D.


Restorative Policing, Adolescents, Dating Violence


Restorative justice, Distress in adolescents, Teenagers, Abused teenagers, Victims of dating violence


Adolescents are in a critical developmental stage and at risk for a number of social issues, including dating violence. Restorative justice approaches emphasize offender accountability and support victims of violence but require adolescents to involve criminal justice systems and police. Black and Latinx youth may be reluctant to seek help from police officers for dating violence due to previous negative encounters. Lack of ample police training regarding domestic violence and skills to communicate with youth results in low levels of police legitimacy within the community. Using a qualitative approach, this study aims to explore the role of police in restorative approaches to dating violence using key informant interviews. Thematic analysis of qualitative data from seven interviews was guided by grounded theory. Emerging themes from this study highlighted the need to foster police and community relationships and support marginalized ethnic youth in formal systems. Informants also noted the administrative lack of financial and moral support for restorative justice community programs, and a need to improve police response to dating violence through training. Implementation of restorative justice practices can lead to marginalized ethnic communities developing more trust and confidence in police to seek help.