S.H.A.R.E., Inc. will no longer provide supervised visitation and safe exchanges through the Safe Haven Program effective December 15, 2014. Among several reasons for this decision were small number of clients, relocation of staff monitors, and the great number of hours devoted to scheduling. The Safe Haven Program provided a valuable service to a large number of children in the past seven years. 149 families took advantage of either supervised visits or exchanges since the program started.
By Judge Amy Holmes Hehn
On Nov. 10, Ian Elias kicked in the door of the home of his ex-wife, Nicolette Elias, and shot her to death with a handgun. He took their two young daughters to his home where he ultimately stepped out into the back yard and shot himself in the head in front of police.
I am the Multnomah County Circuit Court judge who has been presiding over Ian and Nikki Elias’ highly contentious custody and parenting-time case. Everyone connected to the case is heartsick. Nikki Elias was a smart, articulate, hard-working, loving mother to her two children. All of the professionals in the case, including the court, were extremely concerned about Ian Elias and took his behavior seriously. Nikki was clear with us all about how dangerous she thought Ian was and we believed her. She sought and was given the all the protection the court has to offer. She did everything we like to think of as “right” to protect herself and her children from Ian’s abuse. In the end, none of our efforts were enough. The grim reality is that when an abuser wants to murder his intimate partner, he’ll likely find a way to do it.
As a professional who has fought the good fight against domestic violence throughout my 27-year career, first as a prosecutor and now as a judge, it’s hard not to give up in despair. As a society, it’s tempting to throw up our hands and walk away saying, “there’s nothing we can do.” That would be a mistake. There’s a lot we can do.
First, we must shatter our myths and biases about domestic violence:
* With rare exceptions, domestic abusers, including those who murder their partners, aren’t “crazy.” While Ian Elias suffered from anxiety and depression, he wasn’t insane; he was arrogant, entitled, abusive, selfish and controlling. He played the victim at every turn. When the court held him accountable for his conduct and put limits on his behavior, he reacted with the ultimate narcissistic act of control, with no concern for the children he professed to love so much.
* Domestic abusers don’t have “anger management problems.” They are generally able to manage their anger just fine outside the home. An abuser uses his anger as a tactic to punish, control, terrorize and coerce his partner to achieve specific goals – to shut her up, to isolate her, to prevent her from spending money, to keep her from complaining about his infidelity, to keep her from asserting her independence. In this way domestic violence is “functional.” It’s always a conscious choice, and sadly, too often it works.
* We should never again ask, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” Nikki Elias, and thousands of others like her who end up dead at the hands of their abusers in this country every year, did leave. Leaving is the most dangerous step a victim can take. When we hear about a victim of domestic violence we so often want to know what’s wrong with her and wonder what she did to deserve the abuse. This supports the abuser’s world view, that his abuse is justified. When a victim of domestic violence stays or returns to her abusive partner, what we should be asking is, “What are the conditions he created to cause her to feel that she has no other safe choice but to stay?”
* Some of the worst domestic violence isn’t physical; it’s verbal, emotional and psychological. While Nikki reported extensive past physical abuse by Ian, including grabbing, punching and strangulation, more recently Ian terrorized Nikki using social media. His postings were not overtly and specifically threatening to her, however, and thus were protected by the First Amendment. This is a huge gap in our ability to intervene on behalf of victims.
* Domestic violence isn’t something that just happens to “those people.” It cuts across all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and socieoeconomic classes. Chances are someone you know personally has been a victim of domestic abuse.
Second, we must step up and speak out. Domestic violence is preventable.
* Men need to start standing up to men about domestic violence. For too long the fight against domestic violence has been fought by women talking to and on behalf of women. Until men own the fact that, while there are certainly exceptions, domestic violence is primarily perpetrated by men against women and children, abuse will continue. It was refreshing to finally see men of power and privilege speaking out against abuse in response to recent revelations about domestic violence among high-profile sports figures. Corporations with substantial influence pulled contracts from abusive players. At last, domestic violence seemed to be impacting the status and pocketbooks of men in a mostly man’s realm, the world of professional sports. This is a trend that should be supported and encouraged.
* Everyone needs to educate themselves about domestic violence. Most survivors turn first to friends, relatives, employers and co-workers for help.
Domestic violence pervades every type of case in our legal system. Judges and other legal professionals must be vigilant and educated about the dynamics of domestic violence and about factors known to be linked to high risk and lethal violence in order to recognize it and respond appropriately.
* We need to put money where our mouths are. Consider the public attention and resources focused on the Ebola outbreak in recent months. Yet how many Americans have actually died from Ebola? Since 2003, 18,000 women have been killed by their intimate partners, yet domestic violence services, including advocacy for survivors, safe housing, resources to help survivors achieve financial independence, specialized domestic violence law enforcement and prosecution units, and services for perpetrators are all grossly under-funded. Until we embrace domestic violence as the public health crisis it is and put our resources there, abuse will continue.
* We need to talk about guns. Women who are victims of domestic violence are six to eight times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner if there are firearms in the home. “[A]ll too often,” as former Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., noted during a 1996 debate over federal legislation, “the only difference between a battered woman and a dead woman is the presence of a gun.”
* If you see or hear abuse happening, call 911. She may not be able to do so safely, but you can. If you have a friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker who is being physically or emotionally terrorized by her intimate partner, reach out. Listen and sympathize without judgment or blame. Don’t tell her what to do. Instead, ask her what she needs to be safe and do your best to support her.
Our good efforts weren’t good enough to save Nikki Elias. If we all pull together, perhaps we can save the next wife, mother, sister, brother, daughter or child, and the next.
Amy Holmes Hehn is a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge.
U.S. Fails to Adequately Comply with Domestic Violence Recommendations Issued by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The American Civil Liberties Union and several other human rights groups appeared before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today and presented testimony that detailed the United States’ failure to adequately implement changes to its laws and policies on domestic violence that the Commission recommended in 2011.
The IACHR directed the United States to make the changes after deciding Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States, the first case brought before the Commission against the U.S. government by a domestic violence survivor. The case was previously heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Town of Castle Rock v. Jessica Gonzales.
In 1999, Lenahan repeatedly called the police after her estranged husband, who was subject to a domestic violence restraining order, kidnapped their three daughters. Police in Castle Rock, Colorado, failed to respond to her calls and 10 hours later, he drove his pick-up truck to the local police station and opened fire. The police returned fire, killing him. The bodies of Lenahan’s daughters were found dead in the back of the truck. To this day, it is unknown who killed the children.
In its 2011 decision, the Commission recommended that the government conduct an investigation into the cause, time and place of the girls’ deaths and the systemic failures of the Castle Rock police department to enforce the domestic violence restraining order. It also recommended that the government provide compensation to Lenahan and her family and adopt reforms at the federal and state levels to ensure protection from domestic violence.
Human rights groups praised the IACHR’s landmark decision but the United States has made almost no progress in implementing the reforms since the decision was made.
“The time has come for the government to take concrete steps to prevent domestic violence, investigate incidences that occur and hold police accountable when they fail to respond adequately,” said Lenora Lapidus, Director of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “We hope the hearing today will push the government to take meaningful action in this regard.”
As a first step toward compliance, human rights groups worked with the State Department and the Department of Justice to organize a Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Non-Discrimination and Human Rights Roundtable in April 2014 to educate federal staff about how human rights standards reinforce and supplement existing U.S. laws and policies. However, the roundtable has not yet yielded concrete results.
“While landmark U.S. legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act exists to address the high incidence of violence against women, there is little in terms of legally binding federal provisions which provide substantive protection or prevention for acts of domestic violence,” said Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, who investigated the U.S. government’s responses to domestic violence during a country visit in 2011.
Last month, on the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation affirming, “the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.” The important language of this proclamation must be translated into effective responses to and prevention of domestic violence.
“For 15 years, I have asked my government to investigate who killed my daughters, and when and where they died,” said Jessica Lenahan. “I will not stop seeking answers until I see my government take concrete steps toward conducting this investigation and repairing the human rights violations that I have suffered.”
The ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, Human Rights Clinics at the University of Miami Law School and University of Chicago Law School, and Columbia Law School represent Lenahan and will continue to work with the government until actionable steps toward reform in domestic violence protection and prevention are taken.
Duluth, MN – On Tuesday, October 14, the Duluth Model’s “Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence,” a partnership between Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), and criminal justice agencies of the City of Duluth and St. Louis County, was named world’s best policy. Out of 25 international nominations, the “Duluth Model” was the only policy to be awarded the 2014 Future Policy Award for Ending Violence against Women and Girls, or Gold Award. The Future Policy Award is the only international award which recognizes policies rather than people, and the “Duluth Model” is the first humanitarian policy to be honored in the history of the award.
Presented by World Future Council, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women, Representative Michael Paymar, co-founder of the “Duluth Model,” accepted the prestigious 2014 Future Policy Award for Ending Violence against Women and Girls in Geneva today.
“This is a great honor,” said Rep. Michael Paymar. “We never imagined the global impact that the Duluth Model would have, but more importantly how many lives would be saved.”
The “Duluth Model” won the Gold Award for prioritizing the safety and autonomy of survivors while holding perpetrators accountable through community-wide coordinated response, including a unique partnership between non-profit and government agencies. This approach to tackling violence against women has inspired violence protection law implementation and the creation of batterer intervention programs in the United States and around the world, including in countries such as Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Romania, and Australia.
“What I love about this award is that it celebrates our policy and model to end violence against women. By giving the recognition to the policy we hope that it will be replicated worldwide,” said DAIP executive director (also executive director of Advocates for Family Peace (AFFP)), Melissa Scaia. “While DAIP continues to lead this work it couldn’t happen without the commitment of local leaders and their staff.”
On November 25, 2014, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the World Future Council and its partners, UN Women and the IPU, will host an interactive panel discussion on the preconditions of successful policy-making and implementation at UN Headquarters in New York. Policy-makers from Austria, Burkina Faso, the Council of Europe, and Minnesota, including Melissa Scaia, Executive Director of DAIP (and AFFP) and Rep. Michael Paymar, will participate.
Premiering Monday, October HBO
The principle of fairness is often misapplied in our media. It’s simply not true that “what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander.” The mere assumption that equal treatment, regardless of gender is “fairness,” is to say that the details and history don’t matter.
You would be hard-pressed to find a dedicated capitalist argue that the equal distribution of wages, regardless of education, training and personal initiative would be “fair.” Similarly, you’d be unlikely to find someone to convincingly argue that “crime is crime” and that all sentencing should be equal, regardless of circumstances or mitigating factors. We don’t sentence first-time offenders the same way we do repeat ones and that’s not by coincidence.
True fairness is not found through the exclusion of factors but by the inclusion of all of them.
The evolution of the contemporary debate surrounding domestic violence in sports has been flooded with hypocrisy, situational ethics and outright dishonesty. If you were one of the 7,000-plus people turning in your Ray Rice jersey in September, despite the fact that Janay Palmer was knocked unconscious seven months prior; your conviction is questionable at best. Those angry with LeBron James for simply changing employers began burning his jersey mere hours after the announcement, not waiting seven months to hopefully exchange them. I seem to have missed the videos of fans burning the Rice jerseys. Maybe changing teams is a greater offense than delivering a hook to the jaw of a woman in an elevator.
Only 500 or so people showed up to turn in their New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez jerseys; the guy awaiting trial on multiple murder charges. There weren’t 7,000 people lined up to return wide receiver Dontae Stallworth’s jersey, although he was convicted of DUI manslaughter in 2009. If we are going to discuss fairness in the sense of how we publicly condemn or socially convict athletes, let’s be intellectually honest enough to acknowledge the obvious.
There have been 500 arrests of active NFL players in the past 10 years, across all 32 teams. Twenty-nine of those teams were forced to deal with domestic violence arrests during that time. Violence against women by professional athletes wasn’t invented in February of 2014; only our righteous indignation and fluctuating sponsorship ethics the following September. Just in case we’re more interested in actual fairness and less with public grandstanding, let’s be committed to the truth.
As common with situations like these, those in the media are quick to hold up the reverse/alternative scenario as proof of some “double-standard.”
Enter Hope Solo.
Yes, U.S. soccer national team goalie Hope Solo has been arrested on charges of domestic abuse. Yes, she is a professional athlete. No, she did not have her Nike endorsement stripped away in the way that both Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson did.
Most importantly, yes, I’m absolutely good with it.
The lack of a uniform response to any and all issues of domestic abuse in sports is not America’s problem. The problem is the historical willingness to deny the pervasive problem of misogyny in America.
The lack of a uniform response to any and all issues of domestic abuse in sports is not America’s problem. The problem is the historical willingness to deny the pervasive problem of misogyny in America. There is no long, sordid history of female athletes being arrested for domestic abuse against men in the past 10 years, much less in one sport. There is no history of men being denied the right to vote or any Equal Pay Act for men being voted down in Congress. Stop offering up Hope Solo as the response to Ray Rice and any other male athlete in the news in the interest of “fairness.” Stop making the false equivocation that Hope Solo must be shunned exactly as Ray Rice has as if all domestic violence is equal in nature and one size fits all.
I’m sure Hope Solo does not bench press 300lbs more than her alleged victim and was even less likely to kill a person with a single blow. I’m positive that U.S. soccer didn’t go to great lengths to deny the seriousness, severity or become complicit with the alleged crime. I’m clear that U.S. soccer doesn’t have a domestic violence problem and that the NFL in fact does. That’s saying nothing of the fact that U.S. soccer is not governed by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement which affords its commissioner broad punitive powers.
Stop trying to change the subject, demanding that women take equal responsibility for abuse that is categorically unequal in every way.
Stop trying to change the subject, demanding that women take equal responsibility for abuse that is categorically unequal in every way.
As a fourth degree black belt in the martial art of Hapkido, I’m clear that putting my hands on a woman leads to different consequences than the average woman putting her hands on me… and I’m absolutely fine with it. We must stop trying to deny the realities of male on female domestic violence. Hope Solo is the exception which proves the rule.
There is no long, abominable history of women beating men into submission under the cover of marriage in America. There is no example of a female U.S. federal judge beating her husband while he was on a 9-1-1 call and later refusing to resign. There is no great scourge of sexual assault on college campuses or in the military by women against men. There has yet to be a major university scandal of abuse against children perpetrated by women on the collegiate level as there was at Penn State. There has never been any need to define what “no” means to sexually protect men. How we arrived at this point is just as important as how we’ve chosen to handle it. The moment we begin to approach true fairness is the moment we start telling the truth and stop grading press releases and press conferences.
Fairness is not connected to treating women exactly as men without exception. Fairness is instead no longer letting men off the hook historically or presently for the abuse of women.
Fairness is not connected to treating women exactly as men without exception. Fairness is instead no longer letting men off the hook historically or presently for the abuse of women.
Pass the Equal Pay Act and then we can talk about fairness along gender lines. Bring an end to sexual assault of women in the military and on college campuses and then we can broach the gender “double-standard” discussion. Most importantly, stop trying to compare the dozens of domestic violence arrests of men against women in professional sports annually with the outliers to the contrary. It is then and only then will we be getting serious about fairness in the punishment of domestic violence in America.
by Morris W. O’Kelly
The White House
Presidential Proclamation — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2014
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2014
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Domestic violence affects every American. It harms our communities, weakens the foundation of our Nation, and hurts those we love most. It is an affront to our basic decency and humanity, and it must end. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we acknowledge the progress made in reducing these shameful crimes, embrace the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse, and recognize that more work remains until every individual is able to live free from fear.
Last month, our Nation marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Before this historic law, domestic violence was seen by many as a lesser offense, and women in danger often had nowhere to go. But VAWA marked a turning point, and it slowly transformed the way people think about domestic abuse. Today, as 1 out of every 10 teenagers are physically hurt on purpose by someone they are dating, we seek to once again profoundly change our culture and reject the quiet tolerance of what is fundamentally unacceptable. That is why Vice President Joe Biden launched the 1is2many initiative to engage educators, parents, and students while raising awareness about dating violence and the role we all have to play in stopping it. And it is why the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and the newly launched “It’s On Us” campaign will address the intersection of sexual assault and dating violence on college campuses.
Since VAWA’s passage, domestic violence has dropped by almost two-thirds, but despite these strides, there is more to do. Nearly two out of three Americans 15 years of age or older know a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, and domestic violence homicides claim the lives of three women every day. When women and children are deprived of a loving home, legal protections, or financial independence because they fear for their safety, our Nation is denied its full potential.
My Administration is committed to reaching a future free of domestic violence. We are building public-private partnerships to directly address domestic violence in our neighborhoods and workplaces, and we are helping communities use evidence-based screening programs to prevent domestic violence homicides. At the same time, the Federal Government is leading by example, developing policies to ensure domestic violence is addressed in the Federal workforce. New protections under the Affordable Care Act provide more women with access to free screenings and counseling for domestic violence. And when I proudly reauthorized VAWA last year, we expanded housing assistance; added critical protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans; and empowered tribal governments to protect Native American women from domestic violence in Indian Country.
Our Nation’s success can be judged by how we treat women and girls, and we must all work together to end domestic violence. As we honor the advocates and victim service providers who offer support during the darkest moments of someone’s life, I encourage survivors and their loved ones who are seeking assistance to reach out by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visiting http://www.TheHotline.org.
This month, we recognize the survivors and victims of abuse whose courage inspires us all. We recommit to offering a helping hand to those most in need, and we remind them that they are not alone.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2014 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Research suggests that family violence is two to four times higher in the law-enforcement community than in the general population. So where’s the public outrage?
Should the National Football League suspend or ban any player caught assaulting a wife or girlfriend? That seems to be the conventional wisdom since video emerged of running back Ray Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator, even as reports surface that many more NFL players have domestic-abuse records.
While I have no particular objection to a suspension of any length for such players, the public focus on NFL policy seems strange and misplaced to me. Despite my general preference for reducing the prison population, an extremely strong person rendering a much smaller, weaker person unconscious with his fists, as Rice did, is a situation where prison is particularly appropriate. More generally, clear evidence of domestic abuse is something that ought to result in legal sanction. Employers aren’t a good stand in for prosecutors, juries, and judges.
Should ex-convicts who abused their partners be denied employment forever? I think not. Our notion should be that they’ve paid their debt to society in prison. Pressure on the NFL to take a harder line against domestic abuse comes in the context of a society where the crime isn’t adequately punished, so I totally understand it. Observing anti-NFL rhetoric, you’d nevertheless get the impression that other employers monitor and sanction domestic abuse incidents by employees. While I have nothing against pressuring the NFL to go beyond what the typical employer does, I fear that vilifying the league has the effect of misleading the public into a belief that it is out of step with general norms on this issue. Domestic violence is less common among NFL players than the general population.
And there is another American profession that has a significantly more alarming problem with domestic abuse. I’d urge everyone who believes in zero tolerance for NFL employees caught beating their wives or girlfriends to direct as much attention—or ideally, even more attention—at police officers who assault their partners. Several studies have found that the romantic partners of police officers suffer domestic abuse at rates significantly higher than the general population. And while all partner abuse is unacceptable, it is especially problematic when domestic abusers are literally the people that battered and abused women are supposed to call for help.
If there’s any job that domestic abuse should disqualify a person from holding, isn’t it the one job that gives you a lethal weapon, trains you to stalk people without their noticing, and relies on your judgment and discretion to protect the abused against domestic abusers?
The opprobrium heaped on the NFL for failing to suspend or terminate domestic abusers, and the virtual absence of similar pressure directed at police departments, leads me to believe that many people don’t know the extent of domestic abuse among officers. This is somewhat surprising, since a country shocked by Ray Rice’s actions ought to be even more horrified by the most egregious examples of domestic abuse among police officers. Their stories end in death.
There’s the recently retired 30-year veteran police officer who shot his wife and then himself in Colorado Springs earlier this summer. There’s Tacoma Police Chief David Brame, who perpetrated another murder-suicide in April. (Update: it’s in fact the tenth anniversary of this crime, which I missed in the ABC story.) Also in April, an Indiana news station reported on “Sgt. Ryan Anders, a narcotics officer,” who “broke into his ex-wife’s home and fatally shot her. He then turned the gun on himself.” In February, “Dallas police confirmed … that a Crandall police officer shot and killed his wife before killing himself.” Last year, a Nevada police officer killed his wife, his son, and then himself. And Joshua Boren, a Utah police officer, “killed his wife, their two children, his mother-in-law and then himself” after receiving “text messages … hours earlier threatening to leave him and take their kids and confronting him for raping her.” That isn’t an exhaustive survey, just a quick roundup of recent stories gleaned from the first couple pages of Google results. And statistics about “blue” domestic abuse are shocking in their own way.
As the National Center for Women and Policing noted in a heavily footnoted information sheet, “Two studies have found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10 percent of families in the general population. A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24 percent, indicating that domestic violence is two to four times more common among police families than American families in general.” Cops “typically handle cases of police family violence informally, often without an official report, investigation, or even check of the victim’s safety,” the summary continues. “This ‘informal’ method is often in direct contradiction to legislative mandates and departmental policies regarding the appropriate response to domestic violence crimes.” Finally, “even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution.”
What struck me as I read through the information sheet’s footnotes is how many of the relevant studies were conducted in the 1990s or even before. Research is so scant and inadequate that a precise accounting of the problem’s scope is impossible, as The New York Times concluded in a 2013 investigation that was nevertheless alarming. “In many departments, an officer will automatically be fired for a positive marijuana test, but can stay on the job after abusing or battering a spouse,” the newspaper reported. Then it tried to settle on some hard numbers:
In some instances, researchers have resorted to asking officers to confess how often they had committed abuse. One such study, published in 2000, said one in 10 officers at seven police agencies admitted that they had “slapped, punched or otherwise injured” a spouse or domestic partner. A broader view emerges in Florida, which has one of the nation’s most robust open records laws. An analysis by The Times of more than 29,000 credible complaints of misconduct against police and corrections officers there strongly suggests that domestic abuse had been underreported to the state for years.
After reporting requirements were tightened in 2007, requiring fingerprints of arrested officers to be automatically reported to the agency that licenses them, the number of domestic abuse cases more than doubled—from 293 in the previous five years to 775 over the next five. The analysis also found that complaints of domestic violence lead to job loss less often than most other accusations of misconduct.
A chart that followed crystallized the lax punishments meted out to domestic abusers. Said the text, “Cases reported to the state are the most serious ones—usually resulting in arrests. Even so, nearly 30 percent of the officers accused of domestic violence were still working in the same agency a year later, compared with 1 percent of those who failed drug tests and 7 percent of those accused of theft.”
The visualization conveys how likely it is that domestic abuse by police officers is underreported in states without mandatory reporting requirements–and also the degree to which domestic abuse is taken less seriously than other officer misconduct:
It would be wonderful if domestic violence by police officers was tracked in a way that permitted me to link something more comprehensive and precise than the National Center for Women and Policing fact sheet, the studies on which it is based, the New York Times analysis, or other press reports from particular police departments. But the law enforcement community hasn’t seen fit to track these cases consistently or rigorously. Says the International Association of Chiefs of Police in a 2003 white paper on the subject, “the rate of domestic violence is estimated to be at least as common as that of the general population and limited research to date indicates the possibility of higher incidence of domestic violence among law enforcement professionals.” Their position on the evidence: “The problem exists at some serious level and deserves careful attention regardless of estimated occurrences.”
An academic study highlighted by Police Chief Magazine relied on newspaper reports for its universe of 324 cases of officer involved domestic violence, or OIDV in their report.
Here’s what they found:
The cases involved the arrest of 281 officers employed by 226 police agencies. Most of the cases involved a male officer (96 percent) employed in a patrol or other street-level function (86.7 percent). There were 43 supervisory officers arrested for an OIDV-related offense. One-third of the OIDV victims were the current spouse of the arrested officer. Close to one-fourth of the victims were children, including a child or a stepchild of the officer or children who were unrelated to the arrested officer. There were 16 victims who also were police officers. Simple assault was the most serious offense charged in roughly 40 percent of the cases, followed by aggravated assault (20.1 percent), forcible rape (9.9 percent), intimidation (7.1 percent), murder/non-negligent manslaughter (4.6 percent), and forcible fondling (3.7 percent).
Data on final organizational outcomes were available for 233 of the cases. About one-third of those cases involved officers who were separated from their jobs either through resignation or termination. The majority of cases in which the final employment outcome was known resulted in a suspension without job separation (n = 152). Of those cases where there was a conviction on at least one offense charged, officers are known to have lost their jobs through either termination or resignation in less than half of those cases (n = 52). More than one-fifth of the OIDV cases involved an officer who had also been named individually as a party defendant in at least one federal court civil action for depravation of civil rights under color of law pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 at some point during their law enforcement careers.
Think about that. Domestic abuse is underreported. Police officers are given the benefit of the doubt by colleagues in borderline cases. Yet even among police officers who were charged, arrested, and convicted of abuse, more than half kept their jobs.
In the absence of comprehensive stats, specific incidents can provide at least some additional insights. Take Southern California, where I keep up with the local news. Recent stories hint at an ongoing problem. Take the 18-year LAPD veteran arrested “on suspicion of domestic violence and illegal discharging of a firearm,” and the officer “who allegedly choked his estranged wife until she passed out” and was later charged with attempted murder. There’s also the lawsuit alleging that the LAPD “attempted to bury a case of sexual assault involving two of its officers, even telling the victim not to seek legal counsel after she came forward.”
The context for these incidents is a police department with a long history of police officers who beat their partners. Los Angeles Magazine covered the story in 1997. A whistleblower went to jail in 2003 when he leaked personnel files showing the scope of abuse in the department. “Kids were being beaten. Women were being beaten and raped. Their organs were ruptured. Bones were broken,” he told L.A. Weekly. “It was hard cold-fisted brutality by police officers, and nothing was being done to protect their family members. And I couldn’t stand by and do nothing.”
Subsequently, Ms. Magazine reported, a “review of 227 domestic violence cases involving LAPD officers confirmed that these cases were being severely mishandled, according to the LAPD Inspector-General. In more than 75 percent of confirmed cases, the personnel file omitted or downplayed the domestic abuse. Of those accused of domestic violence, 29 percent were later promoted and 30 percent were repeat offenders. The review and the revelation led to significant reforms in the LAPD’s handling on police officer-involved domestic violence.”
Will these incidents galvanize long overdue action if they’re all assembled in one place? Perhaps fence-sitters will be persuaded by a case in which a police officer abused his daughter by sitting on her, pummeling her, and zip-tying her hands and forcing her to eat hot sauce derived from ghost chili peppers. Here’s what happened when that police officer’s ex-girlfriend sent video evidence of the abuse to his boss:
There have been plenty of other reports published this year of police officers perpetrating domestic abuse, and then there’s another horrifying, perhaps related phenomenon: multiple allegations this year of police officers responding to domestic-violence emergency calls and raping the victim. Here’s the Detroit Free Press in March:
The woman called 911, seeking help from police after reportedly being assaulted by her boyfriend. But while police responded to the domestic violence call, one of the officers allegedly took the woman into an upstairs bedroom and sexually assaulted her, authorities said.
Here is a case that The San Jose Mercury News reported the same month:
Officer Geoffrey Graves, 38, who has been with the Police Department for six years, was charged by Santa Clara County prosecutors with forcible rape in connection with a Sept. 22 incident. The incident began when Graves and three other San Jose officers responded to a family disturbance involving a married couple about 2 a.m., prosecutors said. The officers determined that both spouses had been drinking and had argued, but that no crime had occurred, authorities said.
The woman, who works as a hotel maid, told officers that she wanted to spend the night at a hotel where she had previously worked. About 2:30 a.m., Graves drove the woman to the hotel, where she went to her room alone and fell asleep, authorities said. Fifteen minutes later, the woman heard knocking and opened the door.
Then he allegedly raped her.
There is no more damaging perpetrator of domestic violence than a police officer, who harms his partner as profoundly as any abuser, and is then particularly ill-suited to helping victims of abuse in a culture where they are often afraid of coming forward. The evidence of a domestic-abuse problem in police departments around the United States is overwhelming. The situation is significantly bigger than what the NFL faces, orders of magnitude more damaging to society, and yet far less known to the public, which hasn’t demanded changes. What do police in your city or town do when a colleague is caught abusing their partner? That’s a question citizens everywhere should investigate.
La violencia doméstica no se ve lo mismo en todas las relaciones porque cada relación es diferente. Pero una cosa que si tienen en común es que la pareja abusiva hace muchas clases de cosas diversas para tener más poder y control sobre su pareja.
Usted puede ser una víctima de abuso doméstico si su pareja está usando uno o más de estos ejemplos para ejercer poder y control sobre tu vida:
• Mantenerte lejos o no tener contacto con amigos o familiares
• Mostrando envidia de sus amigos y control de su tiempo invertido.
• Iniciando problemas entre usted y los miembros de su familia para que no pase tiempo con ellos
• Controlar que ves, donde vas o qué haces
• Controlar el acceso a la comunicación con los demás, tales como no permítele tener un teléfono celular o acceso a Internet
• Repasando lo que miras y con quien te comunicas cuando usas el Internet o mirando lo que pongas en tu página de internet y otras páginas de redes sociales
• Pidiendo o exigiendo tus contraseñas de Facebook y otras redes sociales y sitios de mensajería
• Controlar cada centavo gastado en el hogar
• Tomar tu dinero o negarse a dar te dinero para gastos
• Evitando que trabájese o asistir a la escuela
• Diciendo que no puedes hacer nada bien
• Te hace pasar vergüenzas o te avergüence con insultos en frente de la gente o en privado
• Te impide tomar tus propias decisiones
• Mirando te o actuar en una manera que te asusta
• Diciendo que eres un mal madre y amenazando con dañar o llevar se a tus niños
• Destrucción de la propiedad o amenazar con lastimar o matar a sus mascotas
• Comprando armas, cuchillos y otras armas para intimidante o amenazando té con ellos
• Amenazarte con daño a usted o su familia si los dejas
• Presionando te a tener relaciones sexuales cuando usted no quiere o hacer cosas sexualmente que no te sientes cómodo en hacer
• Presionando te a usar drogas o alcohol
Si usted es una víctima de abuso doméstico, llámenos. Podemos ayudarle en una situación de emergencia con intervención de crisis, y podemos ayudarle a crear un plan de seguridad.
Oficina de S.H.A.R.E., Inc. La línea de crisis es de 24 horas/7dias a la semana: (970) 867-4444; Llame gratis al 1-877-867-9590
Cosas para observar si se usted sospecha de una amiga o ser querido que es víctima de abuso doméstico:
• Que tenga heridas inexplicables
• Que tiene muy poco que decir acerca de su vida
• Que están tímidos cuando su pareja está cerca
• Que están distanciados de la gente o separados de su familia.
• Que están distanciados en sus relaciones sociales
• Que su pareja haga todas las reglas para esa persona
• Que los humille abajo en público
• Si esa persona le tiene miedo a su pareja por cualquier cosa que haga siendo bien o mal
Si crees que tú amiga o miembro de su familia es víctima de abuso doméstico, llámenos. Podemos ayudarle a saber más sobre la violencia doméstica y los servicios que están disponibles para ustedes.
Oficina de S.H.A.R.E., Inc. y La línea de Crisis es de 24 horas/7 días a la semana: (970) 867-4444; Llame gratis al 1-877-867-9590
Even though many couples are choosing to marry later in life, our laws haven’t been updated to address dating partner abuse
Some said it would be too hard – impossible, even.
Two decades ago, a broad and brave coalition of determined women’s advocates, domestic violence survivors and fair-minded leaders in Congress set out to do what some said could not be done: pass a law that helped protect women and their families from the scourge of domestic violence.
The proposal, called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), took badly needed steps toward protecting women. It gave judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials new tools to combat violence; it strengthened services for survivors and their families; and, for the first time under federal law, ensured that dangerous individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders couldn’t have easy access to guns.
Still, securing the needed support for the law was no easy fight. There was obstruction, willful misrepresentation, and needless gridlock. Entrenched special interests sprang into action; inaction was their goal.
But Americans made their voices heard, and Congress passed VAWA with the votes of Democrats and Republicans alike. And so, 20 years ago this weekend, then-President Bill Clinton made the Violence Against Women Act the law of the land – a real victory of common sense and courage over the status quo.
Since its passage, VAWA has been a staggering success in making our communities safer. Annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than half. The law has saved lives and kept guns out of the hands of countless domestic abusers.
But 20 years later, there is still more work to do to make women safer from gun violence.
Because of VAWA and subsequent updates to the law, individuals who are under domestic violence protection orders or have misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can’t legally buy or own guns. But even though many couples are choosing to marry later in life, our laws haven’t been updated to address dating partner abuse. And convicted stalkers can still get guns.With such glaring loopholes in our gun laws, guns sometimes fall into the wrong hands – and the results for women are often tragic.
Most of the time, women are murdered with guns by someone they know, either by a family member or an intimate partner, like a former or current husband or boyfriend. In domestic abuse situations, if the abuser has access to a gun, it increases the chance that a woman will die by 500 percent.
This is one reason why American women are 11 times more likely to be shot to death than their peers in other countries, and why more American women were killed by gunfire by a partner between 2001 and 2012 than the total number of American troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
That is not the America we strive for, is it?
That’s why it’s time for Congress to build on the legacy and success of the Violence Against Women Act by closing the loopholes that let dangerous stalkers and abusive dating partners buy guns.
There are several commonsense proposals before Congress right now that would help address the nexus of gun crime and domestic violence – and they would do nothing to limit the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.
In fact, for those of us who own guns and cherish our Second Amendment rights, these laws should be a welcome step. Because every time guns fall into the wrong hands and are used to intimidate, injure, or murder women, it erodes the rights of responsible gun owners everywhere.
Passing these laws wouldn’t prevent every act of gun violence against women, but there is no doubt they would save women’s lives. They are the commonsense thing to do.
Over the last two decades, the Violence Against Women Act has been reauthorized, improved, and updated several times. Sometimes, a small minority of legislators and powerful special interests – standing on the wrong side of history and far out of step with the vast majority of Americans – has fought it.
But each time, Democrats and Republicans have voted for commonsense and safety. And thankfully, each time they have prevailed.
With lots of hard work, and with reasonable Americans making their voices heard, I hope that a similar bipartisan group of leaders can forge the hard but necessary path of making America’s women safer from gun violence.
It won’t be easy. But it will save lives.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Over 600 women have been killed since Ray Rice hit his girlfriend in the elevator.
Jackson Katz, in his groundbreaking work on gender violence prevention, calls for a paradigm shift in our culture to reframe violence against women as a men’s issue.
Kim Gandy was sitting in her Washington, D.C., office a few days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced a two-game suspension for Ray Rice. Like a lot of people in her line of work, the president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence had been very critical of the NFL’s entire response to Rice’s arrest for aggravated assault after he allegedly knocked out his then-girlfriend/now-wife in an elevator.
The phone rang.
“Is this Kim Gandy?”
“This is Roger Goodell.”
Gandy was stunned. The two went on to have an hourlong conversation. Goodell asked a lot of questions. What is domestic violence? How can you tell who is likely to abuse their partner? What would a good workplace policy for all NFL employees look like?
Gandy said Goodell was surprised at the storm of criticism after the Rice suspension and fine and told her: “Here’s what I don’t understand — we actually did something. Half a million is a lot of money. Why aren’t people mad at the judge and prosecutor who did nothing at all?”
“Victims and survivors and advocates aren’t looking at the money,’” she told Goodell. “The judge and prosecutor don’t have fans to be mad at them, not in the way fans have expectations of you.”
These conversations were the beginning of a bold new policy on domestic violence and sexual assault that the NFL unveiled last Thursday in a letter to team owners. Goodell surveyed experts in the field — Gandy is a former prosecutor in New Orleans — and built a framework that included a six-game suspension for first offenses and a lifetime ban with the second, though players have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement after a year.
The NFL also instituted a workplace policy for all the men and women it employs — not just players — and is working to create an outreach element with the ultimate aim of changing the conversation about the issue.
“He did a lot of listening and, I think, was genuinely trying to understand,” Gandy said. “I know he was talking to a lot of other people, maybe to see if we would all say the same thing.”
On Aug. 21, the NFL held a meeting at its Park Avenue offices. The league brought in Gandy and a handful of other experts and activists to help hone the policy it outlined. Among those invited: Esta Soler from Futures without Violence, Tony Porter from a Call to Men, Joe Ehrmann from Coach for America and activist Rita Smith. They met with Goodell, executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent and other NFL higher-ups. The meeting was slated for two hours but went longer, and Goodell stayed until the last conversation wrapped up.
“The policy wasn’t where we wanted, and that’s my responsibility,” Goodell told reporters on Wednesday at a flag football event. “I think it is important for the ownership to understand that and how serious we’re taking this issue and the importance of the work that needs to be done. It’s not just about discipline. We’re going to step up every aspect of our program with education and training. We’ve been working an awful lot over the years with experts in this field, and we think we really can make a difference here. I wanted them to hear that directly from me.”
Across the board, people who work around the issue of domestic violence were pleased with the change in tone.
“I get a sense from him that there’s no pulling back,” said Porter, co-founder of A Call to Men. “He’s in this for the long haul.”
Porter has worked with the NFL for a decade, speaking about issues related to violence and the way men and women interact. He said he gets the sense that the NFL will put money behind the parts of the program that include outreach to colleges and high schools to speak about sexual violence and control issues.
Think of all the players who have camps each year, Porter said, and the value of those players taking the message forward. “They have hundreds of boys hanging on their every word,” he said.
Adds Soler, the president of Futures Without Violence: “Their opportunity to actually change the norm is so great. “The outline is powerful, but now the work needs to happen.”
Porter also understands how the NFL got it wrong in the first place.
“I think the NFL for the most part is like any other organizational structure,” Porter said. “If you look at the domestic violence response around our nation, it’s not a good response.”
Gandy said that part of the issue for the NFL is that different parts of the country may have very different legal processes. She pointed to this story about an Arkansas woman who was murdered. Before her death, Laura Aceves pleaded with law enforcement to do something about her alleged abuser, who had been repeatedly arrested and released.
The NFL has had its own tragic cases. Former Chiefs player Jovan Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins before taking his own life in 2013. Panthers receiver Rae Carruth was found guilty in 2001 of conspiring to kill Cherica Adams, who was carrying his child.
The NFL will investigate each alleged case of domestic violence independently — a process happening right now after 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested over Labor Day weekend. The league said it will wait to see if someone is charged before issuing any decision.
“Yes, I think that was very clear in the policy — not only charged, but we would wait for the legal system to complete its process, particularly in any case on a first case,” Goodell said Wednesday. “That is something that is very important to us.”
The NFL reserves the ability, through the Personal Conduct Policy, to discipline a player even if he isn’t found guilty in a court of law.
In domestic violence cases, women sometimes refuse to press charges or testify against their abuser. Yet that doesn’t mean that the incident didn’t take place. Janay Palmer married Ray Rice the day after his indictment in the assault case. In looking into these cases, the NFL may have to make some difficult judgment calls.
In the letter to owners, Goodell said the NFL expects it has higher standards:
“Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it.”
Yes, it may be tricky, but the NFL isn’t going to back away from the issue anymore. Goodell won’t make the mistake of interviewing an alleged victim in the room with the alleged assailant and his coach and general manager again, as happened in the Rice case. News conferences featuring couples in crisis? Unlikely after Goodell’s listening tour on the issue.
For Porter, seeing the discussions and meeting come to fruition in such a comprehensive way was deeply gratifying.
“When I saw that policy, I was astounded,” Porter said. “I didn’t expect the response to be that big. Having done this work for 20 years, it was like my partner said — the needle moved.”
Source By Jane McManus
More information and resources on masculinity, sports and domestic violence
1. Shuts down the phone. He doesn´t trust the people she is calling or those who are calling her so he´ll cut the line or disconnect the house phone and may confiscate or break her cell phone so nobody can contact her.
2. Controls Internet access. He doesn´t want her to connect with her friends or family using email, Facebook, Twitter, or chat, so he turns off the computer or controls Internet access. If she is allowed to be online, he may control and monitor her activity. He may demand that she give him her passwords and otherwise monitor what websites she has visited. He may post inappropriate photos or messages to her accounts to get friends and family to “unfriend” or block her accounts.
3. Controls the money. He may not want her to work. If she does work, he will still control the money. Having her be totally financially dependent on him gives him the power to manipulate and control her. She can’t make purchases, go where she wants, or even access medical care without asking his permission and approval. The bank account, debit cards, etc. are only in his name.
4. Keeps car keys. He may make sure there is only one car, and he will control the keys.
5. Raises barriers between her and family and friends. He will find excuses for turning down invitations from her family and friends. He doesn’t want to attend her family events. He doesn’t allow her to call or visit her parents as often as she would like. He manipulates, causes or exacerbates tensions or problems between family members, resulting in cold and distant relationships between them.
An abusive man uses isolation as the number one tool in order to make her believe that she is alone, that nobody loves her and nobody is going to help her. When she feels helpless, the more power he has over her.
These things are not true. Her family and friends DO CARE about her. HELP IS AVAILABLE.
If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline to find a program in your area. 1-800-799-7233
If you are in Morgan County or other county in Northeast Colorado call 1-877-867-9590 Toll Free.
National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit is a project of the Battered Women’s Justice Project. Their mission is to facilitate implementation of the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in all states, tribes and territories by raising public awareness of the statute’s requirements and by providing problem-solving technical assistance and support to individuals and jurisdictions; to victims, survivors and advocates.
They provide ongoing assistance and training on:
- Full Faith and Credit.
- Federal firearms prohibitions related specifically to domestic violence.
- Federal domestic violence and stalking crimes.
- Inter-jurisdictional child custody cases involving domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Counts: National Census of Domestic Violence Services (Census) is an annual noninvasive, unduplicated count of adults and children who seek services from U.S. domestic violence shelter programs during a single 24-hour survey period. Conducted annually by National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) since 2006, this Census takes into account the dangerous nature of domestic violence by using a survey designed to protect the confidentiality and safety of victims.
The Danger Assessment helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. It is free and available to the public. Using the Danger Assessment requires the weighted scoring and interpretation that is provided after completing the training. The Danger Assessment is available in a variety of languages.
Every year 3-4 million women in the U.S. are abused and 1,500-1,600 are killed by their abusers. The challenge for those who encounter abused women is to identify those with the highest level of danger. For 25 years, the Danger Assessment Instrument has been used by law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and domestic violence advocates. The training — offered in several forms on this website — provides instructions on how to score and interpret the instrument. Learn more about the Danger Assessment Instrument >
What is the training?
The training module, offered in several forms, provides instructions on how to score and interpret the tool. The presentation gives background information about the development of the tool and its importance to anyone interacting with abused women. It also explains the weighted scoring of the tool, which is vital to accurately determining the level of danger for the woman.
Who should be trained to use the Danger Assessment?
The challenge for those who encounter abused women is to identify those with the highest level of danger. For 25 years, the Danger Assessment tool has been used by law enforcement, health care professionals, and domestic violence advocates.
Overview: Intimate partner violence is a major health care issue, affecting nearly 6% of U.S. women annually. Multiple mental and physical health problems are associated with intimate partner violence, and billions of health care dollars are spent in trying to address the consequences. Although prevalence rates of intimate partner violence are roughly the same in rural and nonrural areas, rural survivors face distinct barriers in obtaining help and services. Because rural women routinely access health care services in nonrural as well as rural settings, it’s essential that all providers understand the issues specific to rural survivors. Routine screening for intimate partner violence would create opportunities for women to disclose abuse and for providers to help victims obtain assistance and support that may keep them safer. This in turn would likely decrease serious health sequelae and lower health care costs. This article describes the unique aspects of intimate partner violence in rural populations. It also describes a simple screening tool that can be used in all settings, discusses ways to approach the topic and facilitate disclosure, and addresses interventions; relevant resources are also provided.
Rural survivors sometimes seek care in nonrural settings; indeed, most providers can expect to see such patients. All nurses, not just rural nurses, need to understand the unique issues faced by women who experience intimate partner violence in rural areas.
This article provides an overview of these issues and discusses the implications for practice.
From the American Journal of Nursing – Complete paper
The Domestic Violence Evidence Project, an initiative of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV), is designed “to respond to the growing emphasis on identifying and integrating ‘evidence-based practice’. It combines research, evaluation, practice and theory to inform critical decision-making by domestic violence programs and allies.”
DV programs engage in a wide range of activities designed to positively impact the social and emotional well-being for both survivors and their children. Specifically, they work to increase women’s and children’s sense of self-efficacy as well as their hope for the future, and directly increase their access to community resources, opportunities, and supports (including social support). While the actual services may differ across agencies — emergency shelter, counseling, advocacy, transitional housing, supervised visitation, children’s programs, support groups — services for both survivors and their children tend to share key features, including ideally the involvement of survivors in their design and development.
This website presents “what we know about services to adult victims of domestic violence from the empirical evidence that is available and from emerging and promising evidence from the field. Also included is a conceptual framework, research bibliography, and evaluation tools.”