Law Enforcement Recommendations
Recommendations from the Summit recognize the need for training, referral processes and ways for law enforcement to collect data which in turn assists in improving methods. These recommendations include:
- Prioritize the issue of children who witness family violence at the top of the community policing agenda by convening local summit meetings
- Ensure that first responders receive comprehensive training to identify, assess and refer children who witness family violence
- Ensure that first responders receive training in empathy, child development issues and interpersonal and support skills
- Ensure rapid response to children who witness family violence and support from responding officers
- Foster interagency, multi-disciplinary training
- Continually update pre-service, in-service, and continuing education curricula
- Ensure law enforcement professionals maximize opportunities to speak out about the impacts of family violence on children
- Collaborate in the development of comprehensive and coordinated assessment and referral protocols to be used by all first responders to family violence incidents
- Develop consistent incident reporting and recordkeeping systems that facilitate sharing information about victims and witnesses of family violence with all decision makers and service providers
- Participate in compiling baseline information on the rates of children who witness family violence
- Help to advocate for resources for a full continuum of effective family violence prevention initiatives and intervention services.
Law enforcement officers, especially first responders are truly on the front line in the battle to break the cycle of family violence. Most officers attempt to make a difference in their communities and with a supportive department that also has understanding and works with other professionals, these officers can assist in negating the trauma children receive as witnesses to family violence. In turn, these officers decrease the chance of that child becoming enmeshed in the criminal justice system as they mature. This benefits the criminal justice system by decreasing the potential for future crimes committed by adults who were once children who witnessed family violence. By recognizing the children of the past are now adults, agencies can also provide resources to assist in dealing with their trauma and preventing a new generation of victims. Due to recognition of the benefits of interagency and multi-disciplinary collaboration, many funding opportunities exist when professionals work together on the common goal of breaking the cycle of family violence. Decreasing crime, increasing physical and mental wellbeing of children as they grow into healthy adults and creating violence-free communities is at the heart of a new initiative by the Attorney General, “Defending Childhood: Protect, Heal, Thrive.” In collaboration, law enforcement agencies and officers across the U.S. can help create healthy, strong communities.
About the Author:
Michelle Perin has been a freelance writer since 2000. Her credits include Law Enforcement Technology, Police, Law and Order, Police Times, Beyond the Badge, Michigan State Trooper, Michigan Snowmobiler Magazine and Chief of Police. She writes two columns a month for Officer.com. Michelle worked for the Phoenix (AZ) Police Department for almost eight years. In December 2010, she earned her Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Indiana State University. Currently, Michelle works as the Administrative Coordinator at Jasper Mountain a residential psychiatric facility for children. In her spare time, she enjoys being the fundraising coordinator for the Lane Area Ferret Shelter & Rescue, playing her bass, working on her young adult novel Desert Ice and raising her two sons in a small town in Oregon.