Time has come to treat domestic violence with the seriousness it deserves. The failure by law enforcement officers to react to domestic calls immediately exposes the victim, as well as the community at large, to dangers that may lead to the eventual loss of life. As it has happened in the past, sometimes law enforcement officers do not treat domestic violence as any other crime. The cases of Thurman v. City of Torrington and Castle Rock v. Gonzales point to a failure by the police department to handle domestic violence with the urgency that it needs (Meloy & Miller, 2010). Therefore, it is necessary to develop a policy to guide police officers when responding to domestic crime violence. Purpose The main objective of the policy is to provide a guideline to officers when responding to incidents of domestic violence crime so that they can make arrests in case there is a violation of domestic violence order, provide the best protection possible to the victims, minimize the occurrence and severity of domestic violence crimes and minimize the risk of civil liability for law enforcement officers. Policy In order to reach the goals outlined above, it is prudent to discuss the rights of the victim first, outline the resources available for use by the crime victims, outline the immediate help for victims exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and outline how provisions should be documented. Rights of the Victim Regardless of the race, sexual orientation, religion, gender, socio-economic status and disability, each domestic violence crime victim, is entitled to the same level of protection and response. In addition, each crime victim has the right to relay any important information regarding domestic violence to law enforcement officers, and the immediate response guaranteed regardless of the location or emotional status of the victim. Lastly, immediate response to domestic calls should be guaranteed whether the incident is actual or suspected.
The officer briefing the victim has to provide information regarding the legal remedies as well as the local community services that are available for offering protection and ensure safety. The officer also needs to assist the victim secure medical attention; this entails, but not limited to, providing transport for the victim to access medical attention. In addition, the officer needs to assist the victim secure legal protection from the relevant authority. Again, when necessary, transport maybe offered to the victim to help secure that legal protection, (for example, a restraining order or a warrant). Resources for Victims For victims in immediate danger, the most appropriate means to reach the authorities is by dialling 911. If the victim is hurt, and in a conscious state, they can drive to the emergency department of the local medical facility in order to receive medical attention. The victim can also get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. All forms of domestic violence (actual or suspected) need to be reported to the Department of Social Services (Cabinet for Families and Children). All the evidence, accompanied by photographs that would help prosecute the case need to be collected. Follow-up photographs to demonstrate physical injury may also be collected.
In addition, it is essential to use personalized intervention instead of general post-crisis intervention. The period of the trauma support largely depends on the victim. Immediate Help for Victims Exhibiting Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder It is important to ensure that victims showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder secure medical attention as soon as possible. The officers on the ground can help to transport the victim to the nearest medical facility. It is also vital to ensure that the victim has access to the local psychiatric facility. Documentation of Provisions All the incidents of domestic violence (whether actual or reported) need to be documented in the JC-3 form. JC-3 is the form where incidents of abuse are documented for review by the Cabinet for Families and Children found within the Department of Social Services (Flowers, 2000). The officer can also check LINK and the NCIC to review any warrants that are outstanding. The two databases have file histories of active foreign protective orders, emergency protective orders and domestic violence orders. Conclusion Domestic violence should be treated as a serious offence against the victims as well as the community at large. When enforcement officers fail to handle domestic violence calls in the right manner, then, this possesses a danger to both the victim and the community at large (Englander, 2003). The fact that a domestic violence call does not lead to immediate loss of life does not mean that domestic violence calls should be treated any differently from other crimes. In addition, no matter how often, domestic calls should be responded to with equal measure of vigour. Above all, substantive investigation needs to be undertaken for every domestic call.
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Meloy, M. L., & Miller, S. L. (2010). The victimization of women: Law, policies, and politics.
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