Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence

Does the police meeting the "real" preferences and needs of victims make a significant difference in their readiness to report crimes and assist in subsequent activities?

In other words, will victims be less likely to contact for assistance and will police grow more and more frustrated with "uncooperativeness" or unappreciative "victims"?

In order to end domestic violence, law enforcement organizations must treat it with the same seriousness as other criminal offenses, dedicate themselves to stopping this practice, and bring offenders to justice.

Lack of cooperation from victims towards police officers at the time of arrest may relay a message to would-be offenders and victims that the government condones the offense and that it will be permitted without consequences. (Buzawa, Buzawa, Stark, & Buzawa, 2012) Also noted is the all too common truth of domestic violence whereby positive actions to address the vice can backfire. For in this instance, the possible future escalated violence triggered by an arrest. The current consensus is that there should be some ground of partnership between the law enforcement agency and domestic violence activists. However, a recent heated debate has emerged within both the law enforcement community and the feminist as to the most efficient method for law enforcers to help in the fight to eradicate domestic violence. Nonetheless, the efforts of the police have been frustrated by victims of domestic violence who are always uncooperative in the process of arresting, prosecuting and convicting their batterers.

Question 3: Will police respond in the mandated manners?

Previously, the police could only make arrests after they have witnessed the occurrence of violence. In fact, they were hesitant to get involved because they perceived it to be a private matter. However today police are required as a result of the enactment of the pro-arrest policies, to execute an arrest for as long as they believe to be on probable and reasonable grounds that violence has happened. Many agencies need an officer to carry out arrests like an assault witnessed. This practice is referred to as mandatory detention policy, and it can be considered important for a survivor to be informed as to whether the local authority will apply it in their practice. (Howard, Howard, Feder, & Agnew-Davies, 2013) Mandatory arrests eliminate the discretion of the police and call for arrests to be carried out where officers believe a crime of domestic violence has been committed.

Question 4: Are agency costs for arrest in the jurisdiction where it has been implemented and the implicit reallocation of existing resources ever truly subjected to any rigorous cost/benefit analysis.

Essentially, cost-benefit is an analytical instrument that makes a comparison between the full cost of a program or intervention and full expected benefits. It helps in establishing if the funds were well spent. The use of cost-benefit analysis in the criminal justice system and the crime prevention sector is rapidly being embraced. (Buzawa, Buzawa, Stark, & Buzawa, 2012) Programs invite law enforcement agencies in their service domain to collect the full data of domestic violence call and the full data of domestic violence calls bearing arrests captured in the previous calendar. The number of arrests for domestic violence made is computed by multiplying the average cost processing time spends on an investigation with the detention times. (Raghavan & Cohen, n.d.) The intensive and rigorous assessment is conducted for most of the programs if the criminal justice system is to enhance continuous investment in evidence-based crime intervention initiatives.

Question 5: Whose interests should the criminal judicial system consider in the decision to arrest if societal goals for the intervention conflict with the victim preference and needs?

Members of the police force are the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system for people who seek their services including victims of domestic violence. Therefore the police practice much discretion concerning how to handle domestic violence. However, critics of mandatory arrests state that this policy strips the victims of domestic off their power to make a choice and institutes a penalty on her perpetrator which the victim may not wish to impose. By doing so, they argue that the criminal justice system replicates the control exercised by the batterer. Consequently, the practice dis-empowers the victim making them feel helpless. Also how women from different societies experience domestic violence, its consequences and legal and social structures laid down to handle it have not been well integrated into the criminal justice system. Furthermore, marginalized and minority women encounter negative experiences due to hostile legal intervention on the basis or racism and enhanced violence after the arrest of their partners. (Weisbrod, 2004) The criminal justice system may consider the victim's social background to make an informed decision on arrests.


Buzawa, E., Buzawa, C., Stark, E., & Buzawa, E. (2012). Responding to domestic violence (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications

Howard, L., Howard, L., Feder, G., & Agnew-Davies, R. (2013). Domestic Violence and Mental Health (1st ed.). London: RCPsych Publications

Raghavan, C. & Cohen, S. Domestic violence (1st ed.)

Weisbrod, C. (2004). Butterfly, the bride (1st ed.). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.


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