Sanctuary for the Abused
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Law Enforcement & the Abuser
HOW ABUSERS INTERACT WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
WHEN THE POLICE COME, THEY MAY DO THE FOLLOWING:
*Denial and Minimization
* Refusing to admit their violent behavior. Makes statements such as:
o "I didn't do anything."
o "She just bruises easily."
o I had my fist out and she ran into it."
* Admitting less than actually happened in the incident or making the assault sound trivial.
o "It was only a love tap."
o "I just gave her a little push."
o "Her ribs are just a little bruised (not broken)."
* Effective Police Response: Inform the offender that he has already broken the law and explain how his/her behaviors met that criteria. Get a detailed account of the scope of the violence by conducting a partner contact interview and by using police reports and hospital records.
*Focusing on Intentions
* Defending one's behavior by pointing to good goals.
o "I was trying to keep her from hurting herself."
o "She was hysterical and yelling nonstop so I slapped her to calm her down."
* Effective Response: Point out the effects of violence: terror, fear, distrust, pain, injury, destruction, etc. Even if his intentions are good, violence not justified and it is illegal.
* Most popular of the excuses, the offender will make the case that the victim is a bad person and the abuse is deserved. The offender hopes you will focus on the victim's behavior rather than abuser misconduct. If you begin to criticize the victim, you become allied with the batterer.
o "I found her with another man."
o "She is a drunk (alcoholic, drug addict, bad mother, thief etc.)."
o "She assaulted me."
* Effective Response: A woman doesn't have to be Betty Crocker (a perfect mother or housewife) in order to deserve not to be beaten. People do not have to earn the right to be free from violence and fear. The act of battering is illegal, just like bank robbery is illegal even if you are very poor.
*Loss of Control
* Batterer doesn't take responsibility for what happened.
o "I exploded but it wasn't really me."
o "I lost it and the next thing I knew, she was down on the floor bleeding and screaming."
o "I saw a white (blue, red, yellow etc.) light and I just blacked out. When I came to she was lying on the ground."
* Effective Response: If you're convinced you have no control, then we should surrender you now since treatment will be totally useless. Do you get violent the same way whenever someone gets you really upset? With your boss? Getting violent with someone is not an automatic response once you get upset with another person.
* The offender claims the other person drove him/her over the edge so they don't take responsibility for what occurred.
o "She made me do it."
o "She knew it was coming and she pushed me into it."
* Effective Response: No one can make you violent. People may hurt, frustrate or anger you but there are many alternative ways to respond that don't involve violence.
*Lack of Time and Money
* Offender cannot attend treatment because of work and cannot afford it.
* States that they have changed, victim no longer feels threatened by them or that the counselor's no longer feel treatment is necessary.
* Effective Response: Most batterer programs have a sliding scale fee system. Reinforce that the abuser must make time for treatment. If you are a probation officer, it is important to communicate frequently with the treatment program and the victim to avoid confusion and manipulation.
OTHER MANIPULATIONS ABUSERS USE
* Pretend they are sleeping when the officers arrive.
* Will be apologetic, friendly, polite and very courteous to the officers.
* Will express frustration/sadness over their inability to get the "alcoholic" and/or "drug addicted" victim help for their problem.
* Will attempt to get sympathy by presenting themselves as a "victim" to their partner's nagging and/or verbal abuse.
* Will attempt to get the officers to relate to their situation. For example, "You know how those women are."