The Evolution of Police Treatment of Domestic Violence
Explain how police treatment of domestic violence has changed over the past three decades.
The Evolution of Police Treatment of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence refers to the crimes committed against an intimate partner, including physical, sexual, and or psychological assault. In most cases, the abuser uses shame, guilt, fear, and intimidation to exercise unwarranted control over the partner, leading to an unhealthy relationship, resulting in death (Malsch & Smeenk, 2017). Necessarily, domestic violence knows no boundaries, therefore, cuts across every race, ethnic, and economic blocks. As the domestic violence increased in the 1970s and the 1980s, growing concerns also increased concerning police response, with many believing that the police were doing very little or entirely failing to take domestic violence seriously (Reaves, 2017). Despite these sentiments, the police department has made impressive progress in domestic violence treatment in the past three decades, which this paper seeks to highlight.
The police response mechanism on domestic violence calls was at its lowest in the 1980s, hoping that family matters would be solved at the family level. This is according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), which supposes that police training aimed at screening domestic violence calls to delay response (Reaves, 2017). The goal was to let domestic issues be solved domestically, and the assailant would have left before the police’s arrival. However, various approaches have secured an evolution in police response time, with the timing becoming swift. Primarily, the women’s right groups have been critical in voicing their thoughts and pushing issues such as a battery to become criminal offenses. Besides, it ultimately became active after the case of Thurman v. The Torrington city increased police response as they realized that their negligence would lead to a severe financial penalty.
The police have since become responsive to domestic violence issues with tremendous growth even though there is always room for improvement. Police departments in various states have incorporated essential reform measures, including supplemental training for police and sheriffs concerning domestic violence (FindLaw, 2018). The police also have improved databases that mainly help compile statistical data of calls received and respond to such issues. The police are no longer letting things take their course as they have to ensure the maintenance of law and order with no person given the right to violate another person’s right even though they are married or dating.
Moreover, over the past three decades, police departments have been instrumental in taking advantage of their power to arrest abusers through the development of feasible pro-arrest policies. These policies have ensured that provided there is a problem cause; the police can make warrantless arrests (FindLaw, 2018). Such arrests have become more effective compared to citizen arrests. Subsequently, they have significantly contributed to a reduction in the repeat of such incidences as the abusers become determined to abide by the law. It has also reduced instances where citizens take the rule of law in their hands to discipline the perpetrators. Thus far, police involvement has helped protect the rights of abusers while also securing justice to the victims.
Policing has also become more inquisitive with the departments developing established units that mainly deal with domestic violence. In these units, the police seek to gather extensive evidence on the abusers, including their criminal and arrest histories. Besides, they also seek information concerning their drug use and addiction issues, which contributes to domestic violence in most cases (FindLaw, 2018).). The police also have to make assessments on the lethality of the offender to determine whether they have firearms and nature thereof to help in determining the kind of response needed. Thus, domestic violence cases are given the necessary attention to ensure they curb the influence and its spread in the community through such departments. As a credible source of information, these units tend to engage the callers by asking them to stay on the line until the police arrive (Violence, 2015). During this time, they obtain information over the phone asking any active restraining orders, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the frequency of the violence.
Over the period, the police, in some jurisdictions, have implemented a program referred to as coordinated community response. This program brings together various stakeholders to work toward eliminating or reducing domestic violence instances. It incorporates multiple social services and criminal agencies to help in improving responses to domestic violence (Violence, 2015). The police can be overwhelmed without support. Therefore, they need the community’s support to assist the people at the grassroots level with the development of feasible strategies to combat the problem. Thus, the program has brought onboard church leaders and community leaders who can play a significant role in providing a safe environment for the victims.
In conclusion, as the severity of domestic violence increases, the police department has experienced a significant evolution in their response and commitment to ensure justice is served to the abusers. Over the past three decades, there have been essential reforms and programs to uplift the society from domestic-related crimes. In the contemporary setting, victims can receive maximum protection within the law with an assurance that the police will do all within their means. Subsequently, the improved response by the police has led to the saving of many lives of victims.
FindLaw. (2018). Domestic violence: History of police responses . https://family.findlaw.com/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-history-of-police-responses.html
Malsch, M., & Smeenk, W. (Eds.). (2017). Family violence and police response: Learning from research, policy and practice in European countries. Taylor & Francis.
Reaves, B. A. (2017). Police response to domestic violence, 2006-2015. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Violence, C. I. D. (2015). Police Improve Response to Domestic Violence, But Abuse Often Remains the ‘Hidden Crime’. St. louis University Public law review, 27(79), 79-120. https://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Subject_to_Debate/Debate2015/debate_2015_janfeb.pdf