Domestic Violence And The Police
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Love Dosen?t Have to Hurt ? ?In 1985, 1,350 women were killed by their spouses or ex spouses.? (256) ? ?85% of spousal murder cases has had prior contact with the police, 50% have been called at least 5 times.? (256) ? ?85-95% of assault victims and 2/3 of domestic murder victims are women.?(256) All of these statistics taken from ?Battered Justice? by Joan Meir in American Culture and the Media show that even if and when police intervene in domestic violence incidents the cases were not taken seriously. Many judges just believe there are ? more serious matters to contend to?(257). There are several reasons that police, prosecutors and judges don?t take domestic violence cases seriously, but at the core is the belief that wife beating is not a crime. In 1976, twelve battered wives sued the city police department and family courts for failing to arrest and prosecute men who attacked their wives, just because they were married. In some cases, the police refused to arrest because they had not seen the assault. Many states have historically prohibited arrest on misdemeanor but not felony charges unless the officer witnessed the crime. In most cases, however, the legal excuses often give way to the real reasons for not arresting. Jean Cook stated ?They said they couldn?t do anything because he was my husband.?(268). Even if couples are only considered common law husband and wife, nothing is done. Some police stations, about 70%, have implemented family crisis intervention training programs for the officers. Many believe given their occupational bias toward punishing offenders, that they are eagerly embracing this soft approach toward domestic violence. This continues to worsen the original problems. In the rare cases that prosecutors press charges the crime is usually considered a misdemeanor, rather than a felony regardless of the severity of the assault. When pressed for reasons.