Law Enforcement Must Stop Discrimination in Abuse Cases, SAVE Says
WASHINGTON / April 8, 2013 –SAVE, a leading victim-rights organization, is calling on state lawmakers to assure local law enforcement personnel comply with a new federal requirement to end discriminatory practices in domestic violence cases. The Inclusion Mandate, a key provision of the recently passed Violence Against Women Act, bans discrimination on the basis of color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
The Centers for Disease Control has found that men and women engage in intimate partner abuse at nearly identical rates (1). And female-initiated violence is the leading cause of subsequent injury to the woman (2). But gender-biased predominant aggressor arrest policies often lead to the arrest of the man, even if the woman strikes the first blow (3).
Lesbian victims are also victimized by predominant aggressor policies which ignore the fact that the smaller partner may utilize a weapon or instigate the assault while the victim is incapacitated.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments – SAVE – says much of the problem lies with biased police training programs. One curriculum developed by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy contains numerous statements that have been shown to be unverifiable, misleading, and false (4). The document claims that “by and large, abusers are men and victims are women,” a statement that stands in marked contrast to the Centers for Disease Control research.
Another area of concern focuses on policies that mandate arrest, even when there exists no probable cause of violence. These policies are believed to give rise to false arrests and wrongful convictions (5).
“Law enforcement personnel agree with the principle of equal treatment under law, but in domestic violence cases, reality often falls far short of the ideal.” explains SAVE spokesperson Richard Davis. “Lawmakers must take a stand for fairness and assure discriminatory arrest policies come to an end.”
SAVE offers evidence-based training programs for law enforcement to remedy long-standing patterns of discrimination and bias.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic volence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org
- National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Atlanta, GA. 2011.
- Stith S, Smith DB, Penn CE, et al. Intimate partner physical abuse perpetration and victimization risk factors: A meta-analytic review. Aggression and Violent Behavior Vol. 10, 2004. pp. 65-98.