Domestic violence victims come from every socioeconomic status, age, race, or religion and the acts of violence committed against them can range from psychological control to homicide. Worldwide estimates dictate that 1 in 3 women will experience some form of intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
In responding to calls of domestic violence, the complexities of abuse often require a correspondingly multi-faceted response from law enforcement. Officers are tasked with removing the threatening person(s) and providing support for victims in familial situations that often involve children and/or extended family members. Additionally, factors like financial dependence or previous threats of bodily harm often tether a victim to his or her abuser, which may affect officers’ ability to glean information or cooperation from victims.
The IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center has recently published updated documents governing the development of agency domestic violence policies. In the Model Policy, Concepts & Issues Paper, and Need to Know one-pager, responses to domestic violence are mapped out from the moment a call is received to the follow-up that should be conducted once the officers leave the scene. Using these documents, agencies can ensure that domestic violence policies are victim-centered and trauma-informed.
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