Domestic Violence And Criminal Terms And Acts Criminology Essay

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In our Democratic era, where supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them under a free electoral system, the term 'Domestic Violence' is considered as different to other criminal terms/acts as it is defined as violence between intimate living together or once lived together. Domestic violence is identified as a major problem in need of police and community attention; therefore this issue had led to the development of effective police responses that utilise either Traditional model or Community model of policing in order to reduce/solve the problem at stake. The following will discuss how 'Traditional Policing Model' differs from the 'Community Policing Model' in bringing about policing response to Domestic violence.

Traditional model of policing involve 'demand-led' rapid police responses that are directed mainly by police officers where they respond to the crime based on a call, and record individual incident, specific offenders and victim's details down in order for a detective to solve the problem.

The community inputs quite little interaction whilst combating the crime as the only roles they could play in this type of model is that of 'reporting of suspicious behaviour' or 'investigatory enquiries', and there is no community input in avail regarding decisions to be made for allocation of police responses.

Traditional policing model utilises armed resources in order to reduce the crime from occurring. It suggests that arrest of an assailant in a domestic violence case will significantly reduce the likelihood of future violence. This is evident through conduction of a field experiment (1981-mid-1982) by Police Foundation and the Minneapolis Police Department and tested the three traditional police responses towards Domestic Violence; arresting an offender, asking offender to leave the scene of the assault, and talking to both offender/victim and giving advice.

Prior to utilising any of the above mentioned methods, the police used a lottery method to determine which of the three responses to be used, and after the method they recontacted victims over a six-month period and measured the extent of domestic assaults and recorded them in official records. Therefore, as a result the police response on domestic assault required further doubling of domestic assault arrests that would lead to a reduction of domestic violence. The traditional policing model could also be used to direct police response towards Domestic Violence by gaining increased resources and power through media. Media does so by utilising crime statistics in order to capitalise he fears of crime. Therefore, the generated fear of crime and criminal statistics bring about a police response to domestic violence as it encourages them to justify calls for increased resources and/ or powers and the strengthening of other state social control apparatus, such as prisons. Traditional policing model is utilised to bring about a response to domestic violence in a number of ways; arresting, asking offender to leave the scene, advising both offender and victim, or utilising media as a source to combat Domestic Violence.

Community policing comes in a variety of forms, especially in terms of Domestic Violence, it is reactive in nature where police officers are trained or attached to special units such as Domestic violence units in order to bring about an effective policing response by appropriate support and advocacy groups in the community. In mid-1970s Domestic violence is regarded as a civil matter rather than a criminal offense. Within this model, officers take a more community involvement stance by working in a zone assigned to them where they get to know the citizens of the community and can bring about a police response by encouraging community citizens to report any suspicious behaviour or tips on criminals in the area. One example of a community model directing response towards domestic violence is evident through the article "Evaluating a domestic violence program in a community policing environment: research implementation issues." It traces the impact of the model on the formation and operation of a domestic violence reduction program in Portland, Regan where it is governed by the Abuse Prevention Act of 1977 (ORS 133.055 and 133.310). Portland Police Bureau went further and took the first step en route to the needed systemic response by creating the Domestic Violence Reduction Unit (DVRU), aimed at bringing domestic violence cases further into the criminal justice system and, with it, into the larger community-wide domestic violence response system. This mission was to be carried out in accordance with the following five core values: service orientation, partnership, empowerment, problem solving, and accountability. Community policing utilises two methods "partnership" and "problem solving" in order combat domestic violence. Towards the end of mid-1980s, the U.S. Attorney General's Task Force on Family Violence recommended a new approach. "The legal response to family violence must be guided by the nature of the abusive act, not the relationship between the victim and the abuser" (U.S. Attorney General's Task Force on Family Violence 1984, p. 4). Adhering to the partnership value inherent in community policing, the Portland police sought input from institutions and individuals in the community to help identify a crime problem in need of special police attention. Today, the DVRU carries out its work as one part of an extensive domestic violence community response system that includes social service, criminal justice, and treatment agencies (personal interview with Marianne Heisler, captain of the Family Services Division in the Portland Police Bureau, July 12, 1994). Once domestic violence was identified as a crime problem in need of police and community attention, the next step was the development of a plan aimed at reducing or solving it. Because the DVRU emerged as the chosen "solution" to the domestic violence problem, it would do well to trace the processes that shaped it." problem solving phase" The police, in close collaboration with the Family Violence Intervention Steering Committee, set out to develop a plan to bring about a reduction of domestic violence in Portland. The plan had two objectives: (1) to increase the formal consequences for assailants and (2) to empower victims. The first objective, to increase the number of prosecutions for misdemeanour domestic violence offenses regardless of victim cooperation, represented a distinct improvement in the handling of domestic violence cases. Previously, the district attorney prosecuted only those cases in which victims signed complaints and were willing to testify against their assailants. Because many victims did not feel safe enough to do so, charges against most batterers were dropped; this sent a clear message to both perpetrators and victims, namely that there were no consequences beyond arrest when an intimate partner was beaten if the partner did not issue a formal complaint. The second objective was to increase victims' ability to successfully negotiate their way through the criminal justice system and to boost their confidence in seeking, obtaining, and using its services. These efforts, it was hoped, would not only disrupt ongoing patterns of violence but also lead to their discontinuation.

A major drawback or disadvantage of Traditional model is that the Police officers hardly know anyone in the area where he is responding nor do the citizens really know the officers. It may be premature to conclude definitely that arrest is always the best police response to domestic violence, or that all suspects should be arrested. The police felt that physical violence within the home was exempt from the laws governing street assaults. Mental health experts agreed that the police should not make arrests. Instead, they suggested that officers use counselling and mediation to prevent further violence. Unlike Traditional model, the community model, longer does an officer sit in his patrol car and wait for a call that a crime has happened. Within this type of policing, the officers will have a zone in which to work in during their shifts. This is their area and they will work to get to know the citizens of the community and help out in any way they can. The officers will make their presence known and also rely on community citizens to report any suspicious behaviour or tips on criminals in the area. In January 1990, the Portland City Council adopted a plan that provided for an organization-wide transformation of its police department from a traditional model to a community policing model. The Portland Police Bureau (1994) describes its mission under this model as follows: "The mission of the Portland Police Bureau is to maintain and improve community liability by working with all citizens to preserve life, maintain human rights, protect property, and promote individual responsibility and community commitment" (p. 2). This mission was to be carried out in accordance with the following five core values: service orientation, partnership, empowerment, problem solving, and accountability. Under the traditional model, the captain in charge of the DVRU would have had unquestioned authority to change the operations of the unit. Power and a willingness to make changes were the essential ingredients a commander needed to alter the operations of his or her unit. This "power-and-gut" decision model required taking a risk and hoping that it would work out. In a community policing environment, the picture is quite different. The captain no longer is at liberty to make changes as he or she sees fit. Community representatives and knowledge beyond his or her own expertise have become the new decision-making partners. In other words, the captain must consult with community partners, staff, and the relevant research literature. Indications that these fundamental requirements of a problem-solving approach had not been fully implemented in Portland surfaced when we began with the implementation of the present research project. Under a traditional policing model, decisions about how to allocate police resources generally made without community input. On occasion, the chief might receive a back line phone call from a local politician urging him to step up policing in the latter's neighbourhood, but neither this nor any other form of "community input" was seen as binding on police decisions. Police administrators consulted their professional judgment and little else. There is abundant documentation that community policing has generally been less well received by officers and mid-level police administrators than by the external community (Bayley 1994). For officers and administrators at all levels, community policing requires power sharing, that is, the abdication of some power to the community. Even top administrators who often subscribe to the new model wholeheartedly do not always accept this principle happily. For example, the chief, despite his or her expertise, must get community input, must be diplomatic in so doing, and in the end may have to adopt a policy that is difficult to accept on professional grounds. Under a traditional policing model, none of this would happen. The power to make policy decisions belonged solely to the police and not at all to the community.