All domestic violence is unacceptable, and we need to increase funding for services that protect victims of domestic violence. When issues of domestic violence arise, we need to look at who survivors are supposed to call for help.
It is estimated that between 20%-40% of law enforcement families or significant others experience domestic violence, which is 2-4 times higher than the general population. It is rare for police officers who engage in domestic violence to be held legally accountable, and survivors must overcome the “blue wall of silence” –an unwritten code among police officers to protect one another. Abusive officers routinely found ways around laws that could cost them their jobs, and rarely result in criminal charges, much less convictions. Police departments let abusive officers keep working despite these past abuses.
Guaranteeing strict, independent oversight is especially critical in cases involving officer-involved domestic violence, and more funding needs to be given to social workers and independent domestic violence services and agencies to investigate calls of abuse. Interviews should be conducted by highly trained forensic staff—independent of law enforcement—in trauma-informed settings. The ideal model already exists for abused children, and we need to extend it for abused women.