Domestic abuse cases are being called in to American police departments more than ever before.
From a police officer’s point of view, “’It’s certainly the most dangerous calls that we can go on. Domestic violence calls are very unpredictable. You have to have compassion when you approach them, but you have to be vigilant,’ Lt. Thomas Haynes with Town of Tonawanda Police Department said” (Moore, 2017).
Police must proceed with caution in order to prevent situations from escalating further. Sheriff King of Maine, says, “their [police officer’s] work begins before deputies get to the scene. Dispatchers are key, flagging any history of violence at the home. ‘When you really think about it, we’re going to someone’s home…we’re solving a problem that often times at least the primary aggressor doesn’t want solved or doesn’t see it as a problem at all’” (Jordan, 2017).
It is important for responding police offers to have the correct assets and diffusion capabilities at their disposal in order to best protect everyone involved. Many victims of domestic abuse and violence have been brainwashed and exhausted after enduring losses of power and control.
“According to ThinkProgress.org more than 20% of the 132 law enforcement officers killed between 2010 and 2014 were responding to domestic disputes. Lieutenant Thomas Haynes says these calls can be tricky. Officers must carefully plan an approach” (Moore, 2017).
Domestic violence calls are risky and often emotionally-charged. Police officers can find themselves in dangerous situations. Last year, in Maine, “nearly 40 percent of homicides in the state were related to domestic violence, according to reports from State Police” (Jordan, 2017).
Many people question why victims of domestic abuse don’t leave their partners. Leaving is often easier said than done: “the discussion about domestic violence rarely focuses on what can be done to improve the quality of life for victims and their children for whom violence in the home has become a way of life. It is time to change the narrative” (Green, 2017). Often, the victim’s don’t leave because they aren’t ready to believe they are involved with a dangerous partner. Worse, many victims blame themselves for the abuse.
Increased offenses under the law don’t seem to be curbing the increase of domestic violence numbers. Kern County is embarking on an innovative program that allows, “low-level offenders who committed misdemeanor acts of domestic violence to avoid jail if they voluntarily agreed to undergo domestic violence counseling. The goal of the program is to help offenders gain insight into their behavior so they can recognize when they are about to abuse their partner. If the offender successfully completes the counseling, pays a participation fee, has no new law violations and, in some instances, completes drug or alcohol abuse counseling, their case is dismissed. The participation fee paid helps defray the operating costs of a Family Justice Center” (Green, 2017).
With a new focus on “curing” the abuser of their dangerous behavior while simultaneously giving victims of violence and abuse a safe place for support, hopefully the number of domestic abuse victims will begin to lessen rather than continue to increase.
Read here for more facts about domestic violence in the United States.
Muzinga, T. (2017, July 10). Woman organizes march against domestic violence. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from http://www.brproud.com/news/local-news/woman-organizes-march-against-domestic-violence/762459042
Moore, J. (2017, July 10). Domestic violence through the eyes of police. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from http://www.wkbw.com/news/domestic-violence-through-the-eyes-of-police
Green, L. (2017, July 10). Community Voices: One meaningful response to domestic violence. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-one-meaningful-response-to-domestic-violence/article_606c7ff1-09d3-52d0-9abe-6ee1cec842b4.html
Jordan, K. (2017, July 12). What police and advocates are doing to address Maine’s domestic violence problem. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from http://www.wmtw.com/article/what-police-and-advocates-are-doing-to-address-maines-domestic-violence-problem/10298172
Violence Prevention. (2017, May 22). Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html