Domestic violence is still a common problem in modern society. It involves abuse of children, intimate partners, older adults and affects about ten million people in the United States every year (Huecker et al., 2022). Abuse can include economic, psychological, emotional, and physical, including sexual treatment. Violence is often challenging to detect, and the victims themselves can protect perpetrators and not seek help because of fear. Cruel treatment has significant consequences for victims’ physical and mental health and even for the country’s economy (Huecker et al., 2022). Therefore, it is essential to examine the law enforcement agencies’ interventions and possibilities in addressing domestic violence. Even though such a measure as a mandatory arrest may interfere with family relations, it can have a deterrent effect.
Law Enforcement Interventions Addressing Domestic Violence
Family relations have long been considered personal, not implying the intervention of society and law enforcement agencies, even in cases of brutal treatment. Gradually, the view on situation and the police response changed – they acted as mediators in resolving conflicts in the family. However, agencies did not use an arrest in such cases, mediation often tried only to prevent escalation, and the perpetrator was not responsible for their actions. As a result, domestic violence was not restrained but only remained at the same levels.
A potential effective measure that law enforcement agencies can use is the mandatory arrest of a person suspected of domestic violence. Such a procedure implies the detention of a suspect if there are good reasons for suspicion of violence. The main difference between mandatory arrest and other interventions is the lack of choice for the victim and the officer. That is, in the case of solid evidence of guilt, the officer is obliged to arrest the offender, and the victim cannot stop them. This feature has an advantage since the officers do not interfere in the family’s affairs but do their job, and the victims’ fear will not prevent the arrest. As a result, the victim will have time to understand and evaluate the situation and seek help. Many societies and organizations in the country are ready to help survivors of domestic violence, and they have hotlines where one can contact them. Moreover, the offenders may not repeat their actions once they receive the punishment.
The action of mandatory arrest policy as an intervention to address domestic violence has been tested empirically. The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment studied such interventions as mediation and separations used in domestic violence and compared with mandatory arrest (Welsh & Harris, 2008). The researchers had an assumption that the arrest intervention should have had the most significant preventive and deterrent effect. Despite several confounds in the experiment, its results showed that arrest is the effective reaction to solve the problem of domestic violence. Such findings have influenced many states that have made policy changes to increase the use of mandatory arrests.
Thus, the issue of domestic violence has a critical impact on American society. Law enforcement agencies do not always have the power to respond to suspicions of violence and protect its victims. The widespread intervention of mediation between the victim and the abuser does not have the necessary deterrent and preventive effect. The mandatory arrest can have the required impact and help curb domestic violence. It involves the detention of the offender in the case of solid evidence of guilt, and then even a frightened victim cannot interfere with the offender’s punishment.
Huecker, M. R., King, K. C., Jordan, G. A., & Smock, W. (2022). Domestic violence. StatPearls. Web.
Welsh, W. N., & Harris, P. W. (2008). Criminal justice policy and planning. Anderson Publishing.