October is right around the corner, which means it is almost Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Next month we encourage you to reflect on the impact of domestic violence in your community, provide effective services for victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, and disseminate information about the resources and tools available to support victims of violence.
Promising Practices to Improve Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence:
- Policies & Procedures: Include threat/risk/lethality assessments in agency response to intimate partner crimes to address officer and victim safety, and offender accountability
- Training: Ensure all department members are trained on the co-occurring nature of intimate partner crimes (e.g., when responding to a domestic violence call, inquire about sexual violence and stalking)
- Communication: Clearly post information on website for how victims can make reports and obtain services
- Agency Assessment: Conduct safety/accountability audits (including review of reports, practices, and procedures)
- Collaboration: Establish cross-jurisdictional Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) or written protocols to clarify roles and responsibilities for investigating intimate partner crimes which cross jurisdictional lines (including reports of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault by police officers)
The IACP, in collaboration with U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), has created numerous resources on domestic violence and intimate partner crimes, including a protection order enforcement guide, a sexual assault investigative strategy guidebook, and an executive guide to addressing sexual offenses and misconduct by law enforcement. If you would like copies of these or other resources for your agency or organization, please contact Michael Rizzo (Rizzo@theiacp.org) for more information, or visit our Violence Against Women Project website.
For additional ideas on how to honor Domestic Violence Awareness month, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.