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Section One Victim and Officer Safety. Introductory Note on Language.

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Presentation on theme: "Section One Victim and Officer Safety. Introductory Note on Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 Section One Victim and Officer Safety

2 Introductory Note on Language

3 Language ● Victims and survivors ● Victims (primarily using female pronouns) ● Offenders (primarily using male pronouns) ● Laws (rely upon original statutory language) ● Use domestic violence and interpersonal violence interchangeably

4 Evolving Terms ● Domestic violence; relationship violence; family violence; spouse abuse; battering ● Increasingly becoming called intimate partner violence (IPV) or abuse (IPA) in many official and academic sources

5 Victim Safety

6 How much risk is associated with domestic violence? ● Rates are high for women who experience elevated rates of homicide and assault compared to men ● Exactly how much risk depends upon the data source used ● Data and statistics always vary based on source, sample size, and methodology ● Challenge is to decipher trends based on the most reliable data

7 Violence against intimates difficult to measure because: ● it often occurs in private ● victims are often reluctant to report incidents to anyone because of shame or fear of reprisal ● differences in studies using varied definitions of: Intimates Violence

8 Two main sources of data: 1. Uniform Crime Report (UCR) 2. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)

9 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) ● Measure only crimes known to police ● No information on victim/offender relationship for average assault case (although changing as systems move to the NIBRS system) ● Some useful data on homicide

10 In 2006, UCR data show: ● Homicide data involving only one victim and one offender show that overwhelming number of both male and female victims are killed by men (92% for women and 91% or men). ● About one-third (32%) of female victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends compared to 2% of male victims killed by wives or girlfriends. FBI (2006). Uniform Crime Report: Expanded Homicide Data (http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/homicide.html)http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/homicide.html

11 Data consistent. From , on average: ● Female homicide victims are more likely than male victims to be killed by an intimate: 30% of women killed are killed by an intimate and 12% by a family member; only 9% are strangers (with the rest being friends or acquaintances). ● Male victims are more likely than female victims to be killed by acquaintances (35%) or strangers (16%); only 5% are killed by intimates or family members (7%). * Remaining percentages absent from the figures are assailants that have an unknown relationship with the victim.

12 Percent of Homicides by Gender: UCR data

13 Tennessee Incident Based Reporting Data (TIBRS: 2006) Crimes reported to the police: ● 80,575 victims reported a domestic violence related offense; the vast majority involved simple assault (69%) or aggravated assault (13%) ● 76 murders were reported ● 73% of the victims were female ● 39% of the victims were African-American which is over- represented based on their percentage in the population (about 20%) ● Victims were most often between the ages of Crime in Tennesee 2006 available at: cies%20Combined.pdf cies%20Combined.pdf

14 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) ● Provides information on the “dark figure of crime” – crime not reported to the police ● Annual data on domestic violence is not complete in the yearly report. ● Periodically publish an overview concentrating specifically on intimate partner violence ● 2007 report provides a summary of NCVS data from Catalano, S. (2007). Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at:

15 NCVS Results: ● Almost 1 in 4 (22%) acts of violent victimization (of all types) committed against women involved intimate partner violence but only 4% for men (excludes murder). ● Females ages 20 to 24 were at the greatest risk of intimate partner violence ● Separated women reported higher rates of intimate violence than females of other marital status

16 NCVS Results (cont.) ● African-American and Hispanic women experienced higher rates of intimate partner violence than other racial groups and higher than their proportion in the population ● Women in lower income groups experienced higher rates of victimization than those in higher income groups. ● Children were present in 38% of the households where women experienced intimate partner violence. ● About 3% of female victims and 16% of male victims involved same sex partner assaults

17 Characteristics of the Assaults ● Most assaults were simple assaults ● Most assaults for women occur in the evening (59%) and in the home (63%). ● Weapons were not present in most cases (81%) ● About two-thirds of female victims reported they were hit, slapped, or knocked down as the main form of assault ● About half of all females suffered an injury from their victimization and about 20% of these required treatment ● About one fourth (23%) of female victims sought victim assistance of some kind ● 58% of female victims reported their experience to the police

18 Stalking also a significant problem ● One national victimization study reports that 78% of stalking victims are women ● 94% of their stalkers are male ● Women are eight times more likely to be stalked by a former or current intimate partner than men Tjaden, Patricia and Nancy Thoennes. Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. National Institute of Justice.Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey

19 Summary of Data Overwhelming evidence that women are a majority of victims is supported using data from many sources: ● National victimization surveys from the US ● Victimization surveys from other countries ● Studies using shelter records ● Studies using police, prosecution, and sentencing records ● Studies using emergency room records ● Studies using homicide records

20 Assessing Lethality for Victims

21 Assessment as Prevention ● In 70 to 80% of intimate partner homicides, victims were abused prior to the murder ● An important way to decrease intimate partner homicide involves the identification and intervention of abused women.

22 Are there factors that predict whether batterers will kill? ● Research is less than conclusive ● Assessments have generally been used as a guide for victims to assess their own levels of danger ● Cannot predict who will and will not murder ● None the less – some warning factors should be considered when officers respond

23 Most important factors: ● Threats and assaults involving guns or other weapons Women who are threatened or assaulted with a gun or other weapons are 20 times more likely than other women to be murdered. ● Threats of murder Women whose partners threaten them with murder are 15 times more likely than other women to be killed. ● Guns in the home When a gun is in the house, an abused woman is 6 times more likely than other abused women to be killed.

24 Other factors possibly related: ● Escalating domestic violence and the increasing entrapment of battered women ● Separation/estrangement/divorce of the parties ● Obsessive possessiveness or jealousy on the part of the abusive partner ● Threats to commit intimate partner homicide, suicide, or both ● Prior agency involvement, particularly with the police ● Having a protective or restraining orders issued against one of the parties, usually the man ● A prior criminal history of violent behavior on the part of the abusive man ● Serious injury in prior abusive incidents ● Drug or alcohol abuse ● Forced sex of female partner

25 One can never really know which batterer will attempt to kill a battered woman or her children. ● Any battering relationship may end in homicide. Potential lethality is always a concern. ● Lethality also is affected by criminal justice system and community responses. ● No instrument should be the only basis for safety planning for victims. It can only be used with other information as part of the puzzle. *

26 Be aware: ● Risk of lethality or death is not the same as predicting risk of re-assault ● Less research in this area ● The risk factors for both are probably related but not exactly the same

27 Risk Factors Related to Re-offending ● Prior non-domestic violence convictions ● Prior arrests for assault or harassment ● Prior domestic violence treatment ● Prior drug or alcohol treatment ● History of domestic violence related to restraining/protective orders ● History of violating restraining/protective orders ● Evidence that weapons used in committing any crime ● Children present during domestic violence incident ● Currently unemployed ● Victim separated from offender within past 6 months ● Victim has restraining order/protective order when offense occurred ● Offender under any type of community supervision when offense occurred

28 Homicide/Suicide Cases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ● 32% of suicides are precipitated by a problem with an intimate partner ● 75% of the homicide victims in these cases are female and 90% of the suicides are males ● Offenders are more apt to be: white, ages 35-55, married, and about a 50% chance of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol ● 73% of incidents occur in a house and 88% involve a firearm. ● 79% of the cases had prior evidence of intimate partner problems and 87% reported a “crisis” in the two weeks preceding the incident (often involving civil or criminal legal problems). ● There is rarely much warning. Only 17% of the offenders disclosed their intent to commit these acts. Only 5% had a history of suicide attempts. 79% left no suicide note.

29 Law Enforcement Implications ● Notify victims that threats and assaults involving guns or other weapons, threats of murder, or guns in the home are related to increased lethality. ● Discuss with victims that all incidents have the potential for lethality even if it is unintentional (pushing them so that they hit their head and have a brain bleed) ● Provide referrals ● Assist victims with a safety plan

30 Safety plan here

31 Officer Safety

32 Do the Officer Safety Skit Exercise

33 How much risk is associated with domestic violence? ● It is not extensive and certainly not as high as historically has been taught in police academies. ● The risk is more likely to involve assault than murder.

34 Perceived Risk to Police Officers ● Historically police officers were trained to view domestic violence cases as one of or the most dangerous calls possible ● Some older research suggested that that between 25 to 80% of police officers reported an assault when responding to domestic violence calls*

35 FBI Reports Reinforced this Idea ● Indicate that deaths to police officers responding to domestic disputes ranked between the highest to the third highest of all deaths associated with making arrests ● Problem was the way they defined the category -- domestic disturbances ● Included all kinds of “disturbance calls” which were domestic violence calls and bar fights, gang calls, general public disturbances short of a riot, and “man with a gun calls”.

36 Example of the Report

37 Re-analysis of data finds: ● That police deaths in domestic violence cases accounted for about 6% of all non-accidental deaths from ● Police officers are more likely to die accidentally as a result of their own action or the actions of other police officers than to die when responding to a domestic violence call. ● FBI continues to use this overly broad category of domestic disturbances in their annual reports on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Gardner, J. and Clemmer, E. (1987) Danger to police in domestic disturbances – A new look. Washington: DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Available at:

38 Rank order of 48 officer fatalities for 2006 ● Attempting arrests 12 ● Ambush situations 10 ● Traffic stops8 ● Disturbance calls(excluding dv cases)6 ● Investigating suspicious persons6 ● Domestic violence calls2 ● Tactical situations (e.g. hostages)2 ● Transporting prisoners1 ● Dealing w/ mentally ill persons1 FBI: Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2006 available at:

39 Notice how the impact is different when domestic disturbances are combined ● Attempting arrests 12 ● Ambush situations 10 ● Traffic stops8 ● Disturbance calls(all kinds) 8 ● Investigating suspicious persons6 ● Tactical situations (e.g. hostages)2 ● Transporting prisoners1 ● Dealing w/ mentally ill persons1

40 Officers are most apt to die in accidents Rank order of 66 officer fatalities for accidents in 2006: ● Automobile accidents 38 ● Struck by vehicles13 ● Motorcycles accidents 8 ● Accidental shootings 4 ● Aircraft accidents 3 FBI: Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2006 available at:

41 Overview Officer Fatalities

42 Other Safety Issues: ● Homicide is only one way to measure danger in these cases; we need to know more about assaults and injuries to establish danger estimates ● We need measures that assess danger rates based on the frequency of domestic violence calls (which is high) – What is the danger rate? and how does it compare to other types of crimes ● Currently we simply report the raw numbers and don’t compare them based on the frequency of particular kinds of calls. ● Need the data to separate domestic violence calls from domestic disturbance calls in all FBI reports

43 Data not separated for Assaults – Only for Fatalities

44 It is clear that: ● Domestic violence is a serious social problem. ● Women are primary victims and at significant risk for both assault and homicide. ● Police officers face some risk when dealing with these calls, but it has been over stated and it is lower than many other types of calls for service.


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