Domestic Violence: After the Police Are Involved
Author / Source: Miche Smith
After a domestic violence incident, I found the following to be some of the serious do’s and don’ts for keeping yourself safe:
If the police arrive, and they are arresting someone who has hurt you, do not say whether you want to prosecute. You are not in a state of mind to make that decision.
If the person is arrested, the police may issue an emergency protective order (EPO) preventing that person from returning to the residence for a certain period of time. During this time, you will have time to calm down, process what happened, and decide what to do next, without fear of the person who assaulted you being in the home.
If you do feel someone has hurt you and think that person may have hurt others in the past, insist the investigator assigned to the case run a report on calls to the abuser’s previous addresses, not just an arrest record. The abuser may not have a prior arrest record, but may have prior domestic disturbance calls to a previous addresses.
There may be things in previous divorce proceedings to support your claims, such as clutch restraining orders, orders regarding supervised visitation of children, and unfit parent claims, which, while not actual arrest records, do show a pattern of behaviors. Abusers usually have a history.
Check family law courts. Are there any investigated and substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect against this person? Believe it or not, these records may not always be filed with a previous police report. Investigations take time, and sometimes a social workers report may make it to the DA after the DA has decided not to press charges. Lucky for the abuser . . . unlucky for the abuser’s next partner.
Be advised that the DA does not prosecute all cases. There are many reasons for this, including the high cost of litigation. So if you want to see a case prosecuted, you’ll need to advocated for what you know is right.
Finally, if you have been a part of domestic violence, seek professional help. You may not feel you need it, but it will help you rebuild your life and move on.