Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest: Influences on Police Officer Actions

Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest: Influences on Police Officer Actions

Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest: Influences on Police Officer Actions

Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest: Influences on Police Officer Actions

Synopsis

Despite mandates requiring annual in-service training on domestic violence for all New Jersey police officers, many officers do not receive this training. In-service training enhances the enforcement of domestic violence laws. Police officers in New Jersey, a mandatory arrest jurisdiction for the enforcement of domestic violence laws, rely heavily on their perception of the law to justify their enforcement activities. Victim's wishes and opinions on the enforcement of domestic violence laws have little effect on the arrest outcome in mandatory arrest jurisdictions, such as New Jersey, according to both officer's opinions and their reactions to hypothetical situations in this study.

Excerpt

IMPLICATIONS OF DECISIONS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Domestic violence enforcement poses numerous far reaching and potentially life or death consequences and implications for all parties involved. For the police who are called upon to intervene, most often at the residence of the victim and/or the attacker, the situation is fraught with a multitude of unknown factors that are most often potentially dangerous, and on occasion life-threatening. The actions taken and decisions a police officer makes at these volatile encounters can have a lasting impact on his/her agency’s reputation as well as their own professional image. They can have criminal and civil implications for the officer, and beside the obvious effects on both the victim and the offender the potential impact on the children of the involved parties can be profound. They are too often the unintended victims of domestic violence incidents as they witness the abuse and subsequent police actions taking place in their homes.

For the victims, the direct result of a police intervention is the immediate end to the abuse taking place at the time. Additional benefits can include the education of the victim as to their legal rights under the domestic violence laws in their particular state, and their options for relief, temporary and/or permanent, to prevent the commission of further acts of domestic violence against them. It is also a goal that of police intervention that the attacker desists from the . . .

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