Police Response to Domestic Violence

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Police Response to Domestic Violence

Seminar in Police Problems

Professor Valentin

May 17, 2010

Police Response to Domestic Violence

In 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 1,181 females were killed by an intimate partner. That means everyday, 3 women are killed as a result of domestic violence. These overwhelming statistics also state that out of all the women murdered in the United States, one out of three of the murders are the direct result of an intimate partner. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that includes whether sexual, emotional or physically, that is imposed by a partner in an intimate relationship. This has been a major problem in the United States and for decades domestic violence continues to increase.

We acknowledge that domestic violence continues to be an epidemic on the rise. According to Eve S. Buzawa and Carl G. Buzawa, reform of police action in domestic assault cases has been a recurrent theme for twenty years (Dunham & Albert, 2010, pg.137). Unfortunately, the traditional police response involving domestic violence assaults still seems to take precedent. Law enforcement maintains their reactive approach by means of avoiding interventions, screening out calls or sustaining the attitude that domestic violence is not a real crime.

Nevertheless, the issue regarding the lack of presence and concern for domestic violence victims goes beyond the stereotypical reasons why law enforcement do not take a more proactive approach. The reasons may include personal attitudes, lack of training or even fear. However, when domestic cases involve minorities, law enforcement has been known to become suspiciously bias. Nonetheless, domestic violence is not only limited to male and female relationships. Homosexuals are also involved in domestic violence disputes as well and officers particularly avoid intervention in these cases even more than heterosexual relationships.

In this report, we will explore the different characteristics involving police responses to domestic violence, the reasons why law enforcement hesitate in their response, and the different statistics involving intervention in heterosexual, homosexual and minority households.

Avoiding Intervention

We have acknowledged through many texts and the experience of our fellow officers that police work is a very mundane profession. The highlights we visualize on television shows are mostly for entertainment purposes. In reality, police work consists of domestic violence interventions, which also includes cases of drug abuse. Unfortunately, police interventions in domestic violence cases still lack a proactive response.

Although today Domestic Violence intervention still needs to be revised in making calls of service more productive, it was not until the early 1970’s when making an arrest for felonies without a warrant were not legal (Doak, 2010, pg. 150). Only fourteen of those states allowed the same protocol for misdemeanors and since assault and battery is a misdemeanor, victims were forced to make their own criminal charges, which resulted in lack of arrests and lack of making a report (Doak, 2010, pg. 150). Fortunately since 2006, new legislature has authorized warrant less probable cause for misdemeanor arrests in all states concerning domestic violence cases (Doak, 2010, pg. 150) but law enforcement continues to show a lack of enthusiasm in making arrests.

According to authors, Roger G. Dunham and Geoffrey P. Albert, there are several reasons concerning the reluctance to respond to domestic violence calls. The common issues that involve law enforcements lack of intervention include: Organizational impediments, lack of training, fear of injury and most importantly police attitudes. Domestic violence is misdemeanor, so in result police officers don’t think of this assault as a “real” crime. They avoid making...
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