GRASPING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHALLENGES
Subtitle: Retired detective understands the issues
October 2008 is designated as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,”
and it is a period in which to focus on the issues and impact of domestic violence. Often deemed the “Revolving Door Syndrome,” police officers, victim
advocates, judges, and other allied professionals may, at times, get frustrated in their efforts to curtail this recurring cycle of violence.
In the long run, however, they are critically aware of the invaluable role they play in the criminal justice system.
, a retired 27-year veteran detective from the Prince George’s County Maryland Police Department and a former supervisor of the domestic violence unit
, understands the key issues that embrace domestic violence. He is keenly aware of the need for police officers to have a specific understanding of the subject as well as continuing training opportunities.
acknowledges that officers become frustrated with the repetitious cycle of abuse that precipitates the need for them to respond to the scene. However, he believes that educating police officers and providing them thorough explanations concerning all the possibilities that could engage a domestic violence situation is essential. It is imperative that officers obtain knowledge and become educated so they are fully aware of the lethality issues that are involved that include officer safety.
Because domestic violence cases are ones that involve a variety of emotions, the manner in which they are handled is critically important. “When you have emotions involved in any level of crime, this has to be discussed differently than other crimes; it is an embarrassing type of crime,” says
Gray. Coupled with that, he emphasizes the vital need to have safety planning in place for victims. He acknowledges that, oftentimes, victims’ lives are
in total turmoil. They may need assistance to help deal with financial affairs, child care, moving expenses, and other household issues and family matters.
Police officers must respond to a domestic scene with an open mind, according to Mr. Gray. He emphasizes that, no matter how bad the previous call was, an
officer must remain focused to be able to respond effectively.
A skilled officer is usually able to establish rapport with the victim which later enables the victim/witness professionals and the prosecutor to have a better working relationship with that individual. Gray emphasizes the importance of communication skills and indicates that the manner in which discussions are worded-- and the tone that is used-- can make a difference and
can have a positive impact on the victim who has been traumatized by the violent domestic-related event.
“Patrol doesn’t have the advantage of time to address the issues,” says Mr. Gray. He points out the importance of time management. “Time management is important for laying the foundation on lines of communication before problems
arise. Officers can create or facilitate their problems by not establishing lines of communication,” says Gray. “If you reach out and talk to one guy or one girl, you’ve done a lot. If I can make the difference on one or two people, then I’ve made a difference,” says
Gray. He stresses it is essential for officers to listen to what victims are saying. “Treat people like you want your family treated”, he adds.
Gray recognizes the need for law enforcement to be proactive in the area of domestic violence and to cultivate new sources of information. “The challenge of the follow-up is important. Police officers must be aware of available community resources that provide victim assistance,” he says.
Gray believes victim advocates and specialists are capable professionals who should have continued interaction with victims after the incident.
emphasizes the need to be proactive, visible in the community, and make connections with face-to-face interaction. Educating the community about domestic violence, the problems associated with it, and the need
for community resources is vital in working to combat the problem. “If we do the proactive follow-through, sometimes the word will get out,” says Gray.
He understands the multi-faceted challenges that must be confronted with domestic violence incidents and the importance of recognizing the dynamics and boundaries surrounding them. Well versed on domestic
violence related issues as a result of his street experience, the trainings he has conducted, and the victims and abusers he has interacted with in the course of his long law enforcement career, Gray admits, “Without a doubt, it is one of the most perplexing and challenging types of crime we deal with.”
Continuing to focus attention on this issue, therefore, is
critical and the determination to take on the challenges must never diminish.
Copyright © 2008 Karen L. Bune
***Karen L. Bune is employed as a Victim Specialist in the State’s
Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and at Marymount University
in Arlington, Virginia where she teaches victimology. Ms. Bune serves as a consultant for the Office for Victims of Crime, U. S. Department of Justice. She is a nationally recognized speaker and
trainer. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and The National Center for Crisis Management. She is also Board
Certified in Domestic Violence. Ms. Bune received the 2007 Notable Alumni Award from the Dept. of Public Affairs, American University, Washington, D. C. Ms. Bune appears in the 2008
edition of “Marquis Who’s Who in the World.”
MORE STORIES BY KAREN BUNE:
CRAIG FLOYD CHAIRMAN OF NLEOMF HONORED
SHAQUITA BELL CASE
MERGER OF USCP AND LOC POLICE
SGT JOE GENTILE, DC MPD PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
VIRGINIA TECH TRAGEDY GRIPS THE NATION
CONFLICTING PERSPECTIVES FOCUS ATTENTION ON RESPONSE STATEGIES TO ANTI-WAR PROTESTORS
D. C. POLICE CHIEF RAMSEY’S DEPARTURE LEAVES LEGACY OF GREAT
CHIEF MORSE ROLE ENHANCED BY GAINER APPOINTMENT AS US SENATE SGT AT ARMS
US BORDER PATROL AGENTS ARE THE VICTIMS
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GETS ATTENTION
U. S. PARK POLICE FORCE IN DISARRAY
D.C. POLICE COMMANDER SOLBERG’S APOLOGY UNNECESSARY
POLICE VICTIMIZATION HAS WIDE IMPACT
US CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF GAINER RESIGNS
PERSISTANCE PAYS OFF FOR MIMI
MAJOR LINDA DIXON FULFILLS PROMISE TO VICTIM
METRO DC POLICE GAY AND LESBIAN LIAISON UNIT
U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF GAINER
US CAPITOL POLICE MOUNTED UNIT DEALT A HARD BLOW
TRIBUTE TO CHIEF GAINER
CONGRESSWOMAN MCKINNEY - SUPERB EXAMPLE OF NON-VICTIM
RETURN TO NY COP HOMEPAGE