Part 6: Domestic Violence – What Are Some Challenges for Police Officers?

Part 4 – What’s the challenging part for you?

1. What’s the most challenging part for you as a police officer that wants to help? One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with domestic incidents is the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate. 

Victims sometimes try to dictate the police officer’s actions for instance, “I want him to go to jail” or to just “intimidate” the abuser and then leave. Victims also sometimes ask police officers to do things that are out of their scope.  Police officers can lay charges but we do not make the final decisions as that’s the courts role.

Another factor is language barriers.  It can be difficult to communicate with the victim and consequently, we cannot take a statement. Sometimes the victims wish that they could make the whole thing disappear but there is no turning back once the charges are laid on the abuser. The victim’s want to take back their statements and argue that it was a one-time incident; however, we do not have the discretion to drop the charge that is the prosecutors’ choice. As officers we must follow protocol and abide by the provincial and federal mandates. We have to be mentally prepared to go into homes and potentially separate family members.

Victim’s unwillingness to move out of abusive relationship is another factor. There have been times when we have been to the same house multiple times for domestic related calls between the exact same people. We don’t dictate people’s lives. It is their decision and choice.

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