Police & Domestic Violence, Pt 2

*Readers, sorry for my absence this old man is recuperating from surgery.

With the recognition of domestic violence crimes we have become adept at the investigation of them. Psychologist, police experts, advocates, and law makers have imitated many strategies to deal with spousal abuse. Even with these in place we still have domestic violence crimes. Consider the following news excerpts:

Actor Gary Coleman and Shannon Price who had been married for several years, divorced, then back together. There were allegations that Coleman was the victim of domestic violence. Coleman died from a fall May 28, 2010.

A prominent Utah defense attorney James Valdez charged with one count of domestic violence on May 23, 2010. Valdez’s wife told police that he punched her. She was knocked unconscious and awoke with a large gash on her head.

Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen would be serving a sentence in jail, confirmed authorities. The US actor is being tagged to have crossed a deal with the Colorado Authorities over the domestic violence allegations that he had put forward a knife to her throat and also threatened to kill her.

July 7th, 2007, actor Mel Gibson is the focus of an investigation alleging domestic violence with a girlfriend.

Prominent people are not alone in this area. A poll conducted by the Domestic Violence Resource Center reveals the following:

  • 74% of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence
  • 3 women and 1 man are murdered by intimate partners every day
  • Health costs exceed 5.8 million dollars per year
  • 3.3 - 10 million children witness a form of domestic violence annually
  • 3 in 4 women have been raped or assaulted since age 18
  • 504,485 women are stalked each year
  • Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of non-fatal partner violence (BOJS 1993 - 2004)
  • 1 in 4 women experienced domestic violence in their life time. Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims each year

With this information in hand we have to ask ourselves, are we doing an adequate job in dealing with this problem? It is hard to say at this point. In the late 1990s funding was available for domestic violence task forces. Included in these were different disciplines. Police, social workers, assistant district attorneys, battered women’s shelters, and psychologist to name a few. From mid 2000 to present the funding is sparse. Particularly the last three years, with the downturn in economy, departments are fortunate to hold on to officers they have. Funding was cut off particularly in today’s economy. Budgets for law enforcement are down. Funding for new initiatives is not as fruitful as they once were. The term of the day is maintained - and that’s what we have.

In the foreseeable future domestic violence will escalate based on economics. Families of today are not accustomed to having an unemployed partner home every day. Depression on all parties will occur. Situations will develop over periods of time that affect relationships. Increased call volume will also come with these situations; thus increasing the work load and pressure on our under-staffed departments extensively.

One of major concern is that domestic violence will increase within our own departments. We will look further at domestic violence and law enforcement in Part 3.