NYPD’s Misguided Strategy To Get Domestic Violence Victims To Cooperate

If you abuse your partner you deserve some serious jail-time.  Nobody could argue with that.  Yet, according to The New York Post, the New York Police Department’s method of getting a victim to cooperate and close a case could potentially do more harm than good.

According to the Post, a March 5 memo written by Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski outlines the tactic: background check both the victim and perp.  If the victim has any outstanding warrants use that to sway them from backing out of police cooperation.  According to the Post’s source, “They want us to use that as leverage to force them to remain cooperative,” close a case and put an abusive partner behind bars.

In theory, this directive is meant to be helpful.  If the victim has been intimidated by the abuser, or a third party, into not cooperating with the police, with a warrant, they have to.  This can also be detrimental, creating a fear that if victims of domestic violence report abuse they too will be arrested for a past offense.  According to the Post, the latter sentiment is shared by investigators, City Councilman Peter Vallone and New York Civil Liberties Union chief Donna Lieberman.

According to the Post, Connie Neal, head of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence thinks this “will increase fear and reduce safety if victims of domestic violence feel that they cannot call for help when they most need it.”

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) lists that “domestic violence is one of the most chronically under reported crimes.” NCADV also holds that one quarter of assaults were not reported to the police.

Spokesman for the NYPD Paul Browne claims that the order does not mean that the accuser will be arrested. Regardless, the cycle of abuse is difficult enough to break, and doesn’t need any complications or fear of arrest by the NYPD.

[New York Post]
[National Coalition Against Domestic Violence]

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