For domestic violence, the police officer in charge of the case has to be keen that their primary role is to focus on evidence gathering. In this case, they must find evidence of the perpetrator’s arrest. As a result, they should not overstep their mandate by trying to intervene in the relationship by nurturing or mending a problematic relationship. There are also required to treat this case like any other criminal case. As a result, they need to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. This can be attributed to the fact that a majority of this crime’s perpetrators already have a past criminal record and conviction and could achieve lengthy incarceration under the three-strike law. Besides, according to recent statistics, domestic violence accounts for a third of all female homicides is an intimate partner, and 22 per cent of officer’s death in the line of duty occurred when responding to a domestic violence case.
As a result, when responding to a domestic violence call, a police officer needs to approach carefully. This implies that an officer has to find ways of applying discretion when using emergency lights and sirens. They are also expected to observe and listen before entering or announcing their presence. This will help improve the security of all parties involved while exposing important information, including include active confrontation. Once the officer in charge decides it is time to get into the house or approach the perpetrator. It is good practice to send two officers. This act of dispatching two officers is important because it helps make quick juggling through many tasks easier and more efficient. These tasks include checking arrest warrants and prior criminal records and identifying and separating the victim from the perpetrator.
Once they arrive on the scene, it is imperative to separate the victim from the perpetrator and keep them at a safe distance from one another. This will enhance the odds of each person speaking frankly without the influence of the other. It also helps the officers to ascertain whether firearms are on site and remove them. Once this has been established, collecting key evidence for the case is another important step. Therefore, obtaining written, audio, and video statements from the victim, witnesses, defendants, and neighbours is imperative immediately after the crime is committed. It is also important to take photographic evidence of injuries and other relevant pieces of evidence at the crime scene. It is equally important to obtain key information from relatives and friends in case the victim decides to change residence to avoid a subpoena. Securing key evidence in the form of physical evidence to show that the crime did occur is important too.
Moreover, investigating domestic violence must be thorough to obtain a conviction, especially when the victim refusesrefuses to cooperate with the investigation. They should also remember to obtain critical information from the medical personnel who treated the victim. If the responding officer believes that the defendant may be in danger, they should attempt to get a bail enhancement from a duty judge. Additionally, creating a detailed occurrence report is important even when the arrest is not made. This helps officers of future investigations understand the same study’s history. While on the scene, the officer needs to conduct a risk assessment to evaluate the danger levels for the victim and whether a safety plan should come into question.
If physical evidence of assault exists, or a violation of protection order and other offence where assault exists, or what the officer witnessed, they are required by law to make a mandatory arrest. Besides, while investigating this crime, the police need to collect s wide range of evidence from physical to verbal forms in addition to taking witness statements. They also need to record other verbal remarks made by both the victim and perpetrator. Further, during the investigation process, the police need to collect physical evidence such as saliva, fingerprints, blood, and semen which can be scientifically analyzed. This evidence may prove to be vital in linking a perpetrator to a particular crime scene. As a result, the police should be on the lookout for key evidence that may inform of torn clothing or signs of injuries that physicians can photograph and examine. The photographs need to be compared with other uninjured parts. The pictures also have some points, including the victim’s face.
However, the police should be on the lookout for non-physical injuries, including strangulation, that may not appear after several days. Other physical evidence includes weapons, broken fingernails, paper documentation, broken household items, observation from neighbours, a statement from service providers, prior police incidence report, evidence of alcohol or drug use by the perpetrator, and other electronic records. While collecting key pieces of evidence for their case, the police have to keep in mind these evidence-collecting practices. For instance, forensic and medical examination report has to be made available to the victim without requiring consent from relatives. They should also avoid multiple collecting of forensic and medical to limit incidences of secondary victimization. Forensic and medical reports are not mandatory to make a conviction. Moreover, the police officer should also keep in mind that it is the victim’s derogative to choose whether and how they want to submit evidence, and the prosecution should also be able to go ahead without requiring
collected items to be collected be properly stored and individually stored. Besides, the police officer must ensure they follow due process while collecting the key evidence for their case. This can be achieved through periodic review of evidence collection techniques with the prosecutor or legal personnel. Besides, the information collected from both the perpetrator and victim has to contain key details, including the suspect’s criminal history of violence, suspect’s previous record of domestic violence, court orders about the suspect, history of alcohol and drug abuse, history of unemployment and financial instability, medical history, suspect’s access to firearms, victim’s perception of personal safety. Their perception of future violence current status of the domestic relationship. History of escalating abuse, among other key details.
DomesticShelters.org. “How Police Are Trained to Respond to Domestic Violence.” DomesticShelters.org, Domesticshelters.org, 24 Apr. 2023, https://www.domesticshelters.org/articles/legal/how-police-are-trained-to-respond-to-domestic-violence.
Moore, Dawn, and Rashmee Singh. “Seeing crime, feeling crime: Visual evidence, emotions, and the prosecution of domestic violence.” Theoretical Criminology 22.1 (2018): 116-132.
T Santana. “Thorough DV (Domestic Violence) Investigation.” Thorough DV (Domestic Violence) Investigation | Office of Justice Programs, https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/thorough-dv-domestic-violence-investigation.
United Nations -DAW/UNODC. Evidence Collection, https://www.endvawnow.org/en/articles/1136-evidence-collection.html.