In the United States, policy on domestic issues may be set at various levels, notably state and national. One way to approach research on domestic abuse would be to compare a recently instituted state policy to a national policy; another would be to compare policies in two different states. In addition, selecting an emphasis within the broader policy framework will facilitate locating resources as well as evaluating the political ramifications. While all policies share goals related to reducing domestic abuse, some will emphasize the provision of protective services for victims while others are based in criminal law, focusing on the arrest and prosecution of abusers.
The websites of the agencies involved are good sources for official documents and chronologies of policy-related legislation, and often provide links to published research about numerous related topics. One useful site is that of the Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG) of the U.S. Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services. In a 2018 report, “Definitions of Domestic Violence,” CWIG notes that 29 states specifically include “in their criminal statutes specific acts that constitute domestic violence.” A possible research topic would be to explore efforts to change the criminal statutes in any of the remaining 21 states.