Domestic Violence

The Valentine card pictured above may seem funny to those not acquainted with domestic violence, but it’s a grim reality for those who are.

Domestic Violence can be some of the most challenging and dangerous calls we go on. With most crimes, we require the victim be willing to prosecute before we’ll make an arrest, but there are a few exceptions such as in-progress crimes, child abuse and domestic violence. 

The IFPD takes a pro-arrest stance on domestic violence, meaning we’re not putting the victim in the position of having to “press charges” against their spouse.  Not surprising to those of us that deal with it, the dynamics in relationships often leads DV victims seeking our help to reverse course during the prosecution stage or they may even suddenly turn on us during an arrest.

There are a number of reasons for victims of domestic violence to recant:

·       Victims’ sense of loyalty towards their abusers

·       Their belief they are responsible for their abuse

·       Their belief that they can change their abusers’ behaviors

·       Their economic dependence on their abusers

·       The fear of escalating violence or fear for the safety of their children

Perpetrators often have their victims convinced they are powerful and beyond the law.  In my experience, the victimizers are usually bullies (aka cowards), who will quickly back down when we show up.  Also, by the time we arrive, the offender has already released his aggression and may now appear calm and reasonable. 

On the other hand, the victim is still spun-up and with our arrival may feel safe in being more aggressive.  But we don’t fall for the smooth-talking my-wife’s-a-psycho mantra.   We’ll follow the evidence and make an arrest, as appropriate.  Usually it’s the male that’s the primary aggressor, but sometimes we arrest the female or even both.

If there is a happy side, DV cases appear to be trending downward, though simple assaults rose last year.  I give thanks to the men and women of the Idaho Falls Police Department for their excellent work and professionalism in dealing with these case and kudos to the volunteers at the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center.