The Impact of Domestic Violence, Research Paper Example

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Words: 1471

Research Paper

Domestic violence and fatigue are two very critical problems that have been negatively impacting the performance of police personnel across Continental United States of America, base on the analysis of a number of surveys, studies and scientific reports done by authoritative and reputable sources.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence considered by many a health, legal, economic, educational developmental and above all a human rights issue according to Innocenti Digest (2006), is defined as violence that is perpetuated by intimate partners and other family members. It manifests daily through several avenues and these include physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse as well as acts of omissions.

In describing the impact of police perpetuated domestic violence, Wittendorf (2000), argue that this kind of violence is a pattern of coercive behavior use to intimidate and manipulate victims for the sole purpose of gaining and maintaining control. These acts often take place in a confused climate of intimacy and love mixed with hope, fear, intimidation and isolation, Wittendorf (2000), reports.

Women, the writer continued, will tell their counselors that they cannot call the police on their intimate partners, because having them arrested will betray the trust between them, and will make numerous excuses for their abusive partners’ behaviors, even to the point of defending their character, and taking responsibility for having caused the abuses they received. These women, according to Wittendorf (2000), under the influence of the domestic violence, exhibit a kind of compulsive protective behavior that cause them to want to often  protect their abusive partners, and this was often through a combination of fear and love at the same time.

According to Innocenti Digest (2000), the family atmosphere is often equated with a sanctuary where individuals seek love, safety, security and shelter, but because of domestic violence, it has become a breeding ground for some of the most dramatic forms of violence. In support of this argument the National Center for Women and Policing (2012) reports that two studies have shown that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, compare to 10% of families in the general population (National Center for Women and Policing, 2012)

One of the reasons why police personnel will not effectively serve and protect domestic violence affected victims, according to National Center for Women and Policing (2012), was because they often will have domestic violence offenders in their ranks responding to these issues, and they may not have the commitment and desire to ensure these persons are given the services needed.  Additionally, according to Feltgen (1996), when officers know of the domestic violence committed by their colleagues, they often seek to protect them by covering up these incidents, rather than exposing their department to civil liability.

Victims of police personnel domestic violence are often the most vulnerable, according to Levinson (1997) and the Boston Globe (1998), because the abusing officers often are often armed, knows where the women shelters are located, and most importantly possess knowledge of how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty as well as to shift blame.

The problem is also compounded, according to the National Center   for Women and Policing (2012), by the result of a 1994 national survey of 123 police department, which found that approximately 45% of these entities had no specific policy for dealing with officers involved in domestic violence, and the most common discipline imposed for any sustained allegation of domestic violence was counseling.

It could be argued then that nationally police personnel are incapable of professionally handling domestic violence affecting the approximately 90% of women in the country, because they have  had no internal empirical success or experience against the social disease, and as such were in no position to apply any form of treatment or interventions that would be effective.

In an effort to solve the problem, the International Association of Police Chiefs (2003), designed a policy based on the principle of community– oriented policing, to address the issue of domestic violence both within the police force as well as in the wider community. These policy components include prevention and training, early warning intervention, incident response protocols, victim safety and protection, and post-incident administration and criminal decision.

The components of the package according to the IAPC (2003), facilitate a proactive multifaceted approach that will adequately represent a continuum of actions that will adequately meet the challenges from domestic violence from all directions, as well as from all stages they may emerge from, and this will be enhance by the passing of the Federal Law, which prohibit any individual that have been convicted of any misdemeanor domestic violence from possessing firearms.

Fatigue

Fatigue, according to Shiel (20120, refer to the state of reduced capacity for work or accomplishment after a period of mental or physical activity. Accordingly, the lack of energy associated with this type of tiredness can at times inhibit efficient performance in areas that require high levels of attentiveness, coordination and concentration.

According to Vila (2006), police officers in the United States are often overly fatigued, because of the long and erratic working hours they put in, especially from multiple shifts and the resultant insufficient sleep they experience. These factors according to Vila (2006) are likely to cause elevated levels of morbidity and mortality, psychological disorders and family dysfunction within the ranks of the institution.

Continuing, Villa (2006), asserted that long hours of work constantly threatens the health of police officers, their safety , as well as levels of performance, and the situation in many districts are often aggravated by understaffing, changes in demographic structures,  as well as constantly emerging terrorist threats to Homeland Security from multiple directions.

According to Villa and Kearney (2002), police officers often fends off fatigue with coffee and hard bitten jokes, but they are often weary  from excessive overtime assignments, night school challenges, shift work, long hours waiting to testify in courts, the emotional and physical demands of the job, as well as trying to keep their families and social life together.
Vila and Kearney (2002), also highlighted other possible correlates and causes of fatigue affecting police personnel, and they argue that shift lengths, shift assignment policies, personal circumstances, the length of commuting and working hours regularity are principal among them.

In terms of what to do, Villa and Kearney (2002), suggests (a) a revision of the policies, procedures, and practices that affect all shifts, (b) an analysis of the level of involvement of officers in how shifts are prepared, (c) assessment of the level of fatigue officers experience, the quality of their sleep and their attitude on the job, (d) a review of the recruitment and in-service training programs to determine the informational adequacy on the importance of good sleeping habits, the hazards associated with fatigue and shift work, and strategies for managing them.

These same authors shared the belief that the data generated from this exercise will provide the relevant authorities with enough information to redesign their programs to reduce the levels of stress and fatigue that have been negatively impacting the performance of their officers on the different crime scenes across the country, especially in the area of excessive overtime (Villa and Kearney, 2002).

Conclusions

Domestic violence and fatigue have been taking heavy tolls on the performance of US police personnel fighting crimes in the field, and there are several reasons that have been highlighted, but in the final analysis these variables have cost valuable lives to be lost as well as thousands of families to disintegrate irreversible.

However, should the recommendations of the International Association of Police Chiefs (2003) and Villa and Kearney (2002) be accepted and implemented across Continental USA, within the organizational structures of all police department, significant reductions in the number of domestic violence reported, as well as the fatigue test measurement levels among police personnel will be realized in the medium and long term going forward.

Reference

UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (2000). Domestic Violence against Women and Girls Innocenti Digest Vol. 6 Retrieved from: http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/digest6e.pdf, on 05/22/12

Wittendorf, D., (2000). The Impact of Police-Perpetrated Domestic Violence.  Diane Wittendorf Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.abuseofpower.info/Article_FBI.htm, on 05/22/12

International Association of Chiefs of Police, (2003). Discussion Paper on IACP’S Policy on Domestic Violence by Police Officers: A product of the IACP Police Response to Violence against Women Project Retrieved from:  http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/policedv/policedvpdf.pdf on 05/22/12

National Center for Women and Policing (2012) Police Family Violence Fact Sheet Retrieved from: http://womenandpolicing.com/violenceFS.asp, on 05/22/12

Feltgen, J. (October, 1996). Domestic violence: When the abuser is a police officer. The Police Chief, p. 42-49

Levinson, A. (1997). Abusers behind a badge. Arizona Republic (June, 19.1997)

The Boston Globe (1998) Police departments fail to arrest policemen for wife abuse (November 15, 1998).

Schiel, W.J, (2012). Fatigue and Tiredness Symptoms MedicineNet.com Retrieved From: http://www.medicinenet.com/fatigue_and_tiredness/symptoms.htm on 05/23/12

Vila, B. (2006). Impact of long work hours on police officers and the communities they serve, American Journal of Industrial Medicine Vol. 49, Issue 11, pp. 972– 980, November 2006

Vila, B. and Kenney, D.J. Tired Cops: The Prevalence and Potential Consequences of Police Fatigue Retrieved from: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/jr000248d.pdf , on 05/23/12

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