Managing Performance in the Policing of Domestic Violence
This paper presents an approach to strategic performance monitoring for domestic violence. The purpose of strategic performance management is to build in a mechanism to monitor and to improve police responses in order to diminish the overall harm of domestic violence, and ultimately to reduce domestic violence homicide. Three analytic elements—understanding the lessons from domestic homicide, the needs of repeat users of police services and the profile of requests for service for domestic violence—lay a foundation for thinking about victims’ needs and policing. Laid alongside the information held by other agencies and non-government agencies, strategy and performance can be assessed in the context of victim safety and continuous improvement in filling the gaps in service delivery.
The purpose of strategic performance management is to build in a mechanism to monitor and to improve police responses in order to diminish the overall harm of domestic violence, and ultimately to reduce domestic violence homicide. Three analytic elements—understanding the lessons from domestic homicide, the needs of repeat users of police .Domestic violence has been found to constitute the single largest category of police calls in some cities. When police officers respond, they know the situation can be volatile for both them and the abuser’s victim.
What Police Are Trained to Do
While policies differ from city to city, it can be helpful for survivors to understand the common threads for how police are trained to respond. The first concept is to treat domestic violence calls as a high priority or a life-threatening situation. Because of this perspective, and importantly for survivors to know, many departments will continue to respond even if the victim cancels the request.
Collecting evidence is another priority. Many agencies require officers to take pictures of the victim’s injuries and the crime scene; interview and obtain written, audio or video statements from the parties, neighbors or witnesses; and create detailed occurrence reports whether or not an arrest is made. Nearly 9 in 10 agencies record incidents by location and 7 in 10 record them by individual to help officers of future investigations understand the history, according to the same study.
Many agencies require officers to make an arrest under certain conditions, such as evidence of an assault, violation of a protection order and other offenses where physical evidence exists or that an officer witnessed. This is known as a mandatory arrest policy and it can be valuable for a survivor to know in advance whether local authorities use this practice.