Written by Victoria Marion
When domestic violence is committed by a law enforcement officer, unique challenges and barriers to reporting the abuse and seeking safety become a central theme for victims. Rehabilitation for the perpetrator is limited when the police officer is constantly guarded by the police department; in addition to lack of accountability for the officer’s actions as a result of enforcement of laws by the department and judicial bias.
Further research and available forensic services are needed in this area of study. The gaps, contradictions, and limitations can be filled by further researching previous authors who have written on the topic who may have new and updated work. Further, monitoring police officers both on and off the job to identify whether there is a link between police work and family spillover can also be done through new research and research design for future researchers on the topic.
Moreover, due to the lack of information on the psychology behind police officers who batter provides a disadvantage to the mental health community in providing potential solutions, interventions, and strategies in addressing the scope of the problem. Collaboration among law enforcement, mental health, and health care system, the criminal justice system and the community need to work in concert with one another to address domestic violence within the police family.
Evaluations, psychological instruments, providing fitness for duty exams regularly, and monitoring officers for job-related stress is suggested in both identifying problem officers and those who may be affected by police work whereby their perception becomes skewed potentially resulting in family violence.
Finally, lack of current information, lack of disciplinary action by the department taken when an officer abuses his intimate partner, lack of resources for victims of police perpetrated domestic violence (PPDV), and bringing awareness on this very sensitive topic should be at the forefront in this relatively new area of study.
The lack of available scholarly sources impact the research when the researcher is building ethnographic research or historical research. Unless the information is a new idea and the researcher is a pioneer in the field or area of study, then virtually all research is built upon previous theories and research.
With the information age and advances in technology, this excellent source was taken out of circulation potentially to avoid chaos within society due to the absence of mandated policies on domestic violence by police officers that were never set in place.
Still today, each department is responsible in policing their own officers causing abuses of power, individual discretion within the department causes inconsistent delivery of sanctions against officers and lack of resources and safety for victims. However, with the increase in community awareness, activists and society are holding officers accountable more now than ever before has led four states to develop model policies on domestic violence that have been developed only over the past couple of years with the most recent being Florida State.
Moreover, gaps in research and other deficiencies in the availability of data can have a significant impact on the researcher, victim assistant providers, and medical and mental health providers in providing interventions and prevention strategies to combat the problem and accommodate the needs of both police officers and victim. “More than 80 years ago a man by the name of August Vollmer advocated for policy development within the police agency designed to allow only the most qualified, ethically grounded individuals to serve as police officers. Vollmer was the first to introduce the use of psychological and intelligence testing into the recruitment process, Vollmer (Vollmer 1921:571)” (Cochrane et al, 2008).
Additionally, policy reform will be limited without further research. The research topic influences society, victims, liability for police departments, and restricts further researcher for future scholars. Without quality scholarly sources and availability of research on this topic, we are allowing a problem to continue without resolve.