By Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Domestic violence (DV) calls pose a number of physical safety and legal liability risks for law enforcement officers. These calls involve crimes between people with complex relationship issues that can make investigating these crimes very difficult for officers. In fact, one study that surveyed patrol officers from 13 different municipal police departments in the Chicago metro area revealed that, despite the physical dangers associated with DV calls, officers’ greatest
frustrations with handling these calls were associated with DV victims. Approximately 38% of surveyed officers indicated that dealing with victim behaviors was their greatest frustration about handling DV calls. Specifically, officers expressed frustration over victim behaviors such as refusing to cooperate with their investigation, recanting statements, refusing to testify, or refusing to end the relationship with the batterer. These are valid frustrations for officers, as DV victims are more likely to display these behaviors than are victims of other crimes.