Law Enforcement and Domestic Violence
In recent years, the public has been calling for the National Football League to suspend players who assault their romantic partners – but there has been a lack of public outcry about the family violence that occurs in law enforcement families. Domestic violence incidents occur two to four times more frequently in the law-enforcement community than in the general population. If society is putting pressure on the NFL to take a firmer stance against domestic abuse, police departments should too.
Domestic violence reportedly occurs less frequently among NFL players than in the general population. Further, several studies have found that police officers inflict domestic abuse at rates significantly higher than the general population. Several stories in the news have highlighted the domestic violence issue among police officers.
Why is the Domestic Violence Rate Higher in Law Enforcement Families?
The National Center for Women reports that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, as opposed to 10 percent of families in the general population.
Police officer families’ reports of domestic violence are often handled informally, which is in violation of the law and department policies. Even more shocking is that officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution. Nearly 30 percent of law enforcement officers accused of domestic violence were still working in the same agency a year later, compared with one percent of those who failed drug tests and seven percent of those accused of theft, according to a New York Times investigative article. Thus, complaints of domestic violence result in job loss far less often than other misconduct.
Domestic abuse is apparently taken less seriously than other police officer misconduct, according to the article. An officer accused of domestic abuse may be treated with inappropriate deference by colleagues. Further, the law enforcement community does not track domestic violence cases involving officers.
In 2007, reporting requirements were increased, requiring fingerprinting of officers and reports to the licensing agency. Domestic violence reports more than doubled.
Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Domestic Violence Victims
Evidence of a domestic-abuse problem in police departments is widespread. While the country focuses on the NFL, the situation in police officer families is either unknown or ignored by the public. Domestic violence is unacceptable no matter what job the perpetrator holds – but when the police are the ones perpetrating the violence in their own homes, it undermines their ability to effectively stem domestic violence in the homes of average citizens.
If you are in fear of domestic violence, or a victim, our Woodbridge domestic violence lawyers can help you. If you are contemplating divorce or separation, the legal team at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can assist you with custody, child support, equitable distribution, and spousal support. Contact us online or call our Somerville, New Jersey offices at 908-575-9777 to schedule a free consultation.