Domestic violence is a traumatizing experience and many victims struggle with intense feelings of confliction when living with an abuser whom they love. Making the decision to separate or get divorced is difficult for any couple, but when the fear of imminent physical harm or even death is present, it can feel suffocating. There are various legal actions you can take against an abuser, but what happens when that abuser is in law enforcement? Here, the divorce and separation attorneys at Rodier Family Law discuss the intricacies and complications of handling an abusive situation with a spouse in law enforcement.
Officer-Involved Domestic Violence Cases Are Too Common
Studies from the National Center for Women and Policing have found that at least 40% of police officer families have experienced domestic violence compared to 10% from the general population. Officer-involved domestic violence cases, or OIDVs, have been found to be 24% more likely than domestic violence cases among the general public. The field of law enforcement is emotionally and physically taxing, and chronic job-related stress can ultimately lead to unhealthy and potentially dangerous situations in the home. Lack-of-control over emotions as well as traumatic stress, sleep deprivation and desensitization to verbal and physical violence on the job can find its way into the home. This can lead to increased violence towards spouses and potentially children.
Sharing Your Abuse May Bring Feelings of Fear
A prevalent issue in officer-involved domestic violence cases comes from the victim’s fear of sharing their story. When an abusive spouse is in law enforcement, lines may feel blurred. Abusers may be fearful that any potential bias among fellow officers may lead to delayed reactions in reporting, lenient sentencing or a potential disregard of the situation as a whole, leading to possible future trauma for the victim. In addition, victims may be scared that law enforcement officers could use their intricate knowledge of domestic violence and criminal law to their advantage if accused of committing domestic violence. Furthermore, victims may fear that their partner in law enforcement may use their weapons against them if they defend themselves or speak up. Despite these fears, however, it is always important you reach out for help if you are a victim of domestic violence.
What To Do When Your Abuser Is In Law Enforcement
If you are a victim of abuse, it is important to keep a running log and documentation of any abuse, whether it is emotional, verbal or physical. Keeping digital and print copies of photos and conversations can benefit you greatly if and when legal action is pursued and can establish a continuous pattern of violence from the abuser. In addition to keeping a record of the abuse, make copies of important documents such as passports, financial documents and birth certificates that your abuser could destroy. Finally, it is imperative to reach out for help if you are a victim of domestic violence, whether that be to your local police station, a domestic violence shelter or a local family law firm, such as Rodier Family Law, who can help you gain the freedom you so desperately deserve.
Consult a Divorce and Separation Attorney at Rodier Family Law
Domestic abuse is a painful ordeal for any victim, and when the abuser is in law enforcement, it may feel like you are imprisoned in your own home. Understanding the signs of domestic abuse, and finding resources to help you through this trial, can be life-saving and bring the seemingly endless cycle of abuse to a close. At Rodier Family Law, our attorneys are dedicated to ensuring that you and your loved ones are kept safe. If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact the Bel Air attorneys at Rodier Family Law today.