Victims' satisfaction with police communication strategies in discontinued cases: Unveiling the limits through a randomised controlled trial in Israel

Esther Buchnik, Barak Ariel, Eran Itskovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of police reassurance callbacks to victims who reported crimes online, focusing on their rating of satisfaction with their reporting experience, perceived legitimacy, procedural justice, trust, and police performance. It also seeks to explore whether variations in the communication strategies used by the police – i.e., sending letters, a call from the investigator, or the reassurance callback – affect the participants' scores differently. Methods: A posttest-only control group design, with victims who reported crimes online in the Southern District of Israel but whose cases were closed by the police. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a callback from the police based on the tenets of procedural justice (treatment group) or not (control group). Telephone interviews inquired about satisfaction, trust, security, and procedural justice. t and χ2 statistics were then applied to measure the differences between the treatment and control conditions. Analyses of variance and Tukey's honestly significance difference test were used to estimate how different communication strategies affect victims' perceptions. Results: No statistically significant differences in victims' ratings of satisfaction, procedural justice, trust in police, overall opinion of the police, or sense of security were observed between the treatment and control groups. However, based on the ad hoc analyses, compared to no contact at all following victims' initial reporting to the police, we show that (a) receiving only a letter from the police did not improve victims' satisfaction or overall rating of the police, whereas (b) a phone call from an investigator did lead to significant improvement in victim satisfaction and perceptions of procedural justice; however, (c) an additional procedural justice callback did not further enhance the investigator's phone call. Trust and security scores were not elevated under any of these conditions. Conclusions: When added to an initial callback from the police, consequent to online crime reporting, a second call based on the tenets of procedural justice does not significantly improve victims' satisfaction or perceptions of procedural justice beyond the first contact, and a letter-only communication does not improve victims' perceptions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number102194
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
StatePublished - 1 May 2024


  • Callbacks
  • Online crime reporting
  • Police
  • Procedural justice
  • Satisfaction
  • Trust
  • Victims

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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