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Sunday, May 24, 2009

[US] DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMONG RANKS OF LAW AGENCIES IS A MAJOR ISSUE

...Special problems for victims Domestic violence by a law enforcement officer creates walls for victims. Victims are often left feeling that no one cares. They feel alone and desperate. And they live in fear...

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMONG RANKS OF LAW AGENCIES IS A MAJOR ISSUE

Pensacola Business Journal
Cambria Fallon Santiago Cambria@askcambria.com
May, 22, 2009
Domestic violence is two to four times more common in law enforcement families than the general population. In two studies, 40 percent of police officers self-report that they have used violence against their partners within the last year. Contrast this to the general population: It's estimated that domestic violence occurs in about 10 percent of families. The tragedy is that many law enforcement agencies are falling short in dealing with the problem. A nationwide survey of 123 police departments showed that 45 percent of those surveyed had no specific policy for dealing with officer-involved domestic violence. The same survey showed that when caught, the most common discipline imposed for a sustained allegation of domestic violence was counseling. Nineteen percent of departments indicated that officers would be terminated after a second sustained allegation of domestic violence. Some are taking the problem seriously. For example, in San Diego, a national model in domestic violence prosecution, the city attorney prosecuted 92 percent of domestic violence cases. Special problems for victims Domestic violence by a law enforcement officer creates walls for victims. Victims are often left feeling that no one cares. They feel alone and desperate. And they live in fear. Among those fears: The batterer has a gun. The batterer knows how to inflict pain and leave no bruises. The person is trained to intimidate by his presence alone. The person has the power to kill the victim and get away with it, or have others do it for him. Call the police? The batterer is a police officer. The batterer often threatens that if victim makes a report the abuser will be fired. The victim fears being killed if that happens. The abuser has access to surveillance tools, phone taps, scanners, tracking devices, audio and video recording equipment to stalk the victim's activities. The batterer or fellow officers will often "patrol" the victim's whereabouts. Other people fear the batterer and won't get involved. A law enforcement officer knows the location of battered women's shelters. The abuser knows the court system and district attorneys, judges, and bailiffs personally. Victims of victimization Individuals and businesses are sometimes hesitant or refuse to help when they find out the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer. They may fear retaliation and turn the victim away. This leaves victims of abuse with few choices. Many victims remain in a relationship not because they want to but because they have to. When faced with the reality that there are very few, if any, who will risk helping when the abuser is a law enforcement officer, they give up searching and accept the life of a victim. It's horrific mental and emotional abuse, not to mention the physical abuse these victims go through thinking there is no way out — all because the perpetrator wears a badge. Cambria Fallon Santiago is a Pensacola-based consultant to corporations and individuals concerned about workplace and domestic violence. [LINK]

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 25, 2009

    Well written and insightful piece.I honestly feel that the statistics of the true numbers of law enforcements officers who are perps. is a GREATER number than what is now estimated.In the law enforcement niche,violence and control over others is the big thing.Some really let it get to their head,and controlling the general public isn't enough.That's when they go home,kick the dog ,torment and terrorize the family.I lived this for nearly 7 years before I finally was able to get help for our family,myself and my children,3 boys.I honestly can say from experience,the physical abuse didn't get to me as much as the psychological abuse that I endured.He convinced us all he was"above the law,and there is NOTHING we could do about it"I proved him WRONG with the help of the D.A.'s office and state police investigators he took a plea to aviod harsher sentencing.Not bad for a "stupid worthless" person such as myself.We are all safe & much happier now without him,but the aftermath of damage he's done to us is stifling.We are all still in therapy for severe PTSD although the last assault happened over a year ago.My prayers are with those who are still with their tormentor waitng for the opportunity to get out for good.

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