The transformation from
victim to survivor.


An inside look at best practices at
a major Baltimore medical center.

Law Enforcement

Ride with officers in Duluth, MN, Baltimore, MD and the Bronx, NY.


Conversations with battered
women's movement leaders.

Key Questions

Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Issues for Class Discussion

A teaching plan for using “Domestic Violence and Law Enforcement” in class could include a discussion of key points of the film.   What follows are some of the film’s most important points, along with direct quotes from the film.  These make starting points for discussion or assignments — there are many more details and nuances to each question.

What is an important factor that makes domestic cases different than most other crimes?

LT Jenkins: These are people who have real things in common. They have a life that’s common. They have children that are in common. And the stakes are very high for losing those things. And that keeps them together.

What is victim blaming?

LT  Jenkins:  I held a lot of the beliefs as a man raised in this society but also as a — as a professional police officer that — um — it takes two to tango. And I bought into what the batterer wanted me to believe — is that these things were about her. About the way she treated him. About the way that she demeaned him. Or pressed his buttons. So I bought into a lot of that.

Prior to the early 1980s, what was the attitude of most law enforcement agencies toward domestic violence?

Michael Paymar:  “Law enforcement really minimized  domestic assault cases. It was considered a private matter between a husband and a wife.”

What are the underlying idea of the Duluth Model of domestic violence policy?

Ellen Pence:  The Duluth model is bringing all the criminal justice people together — police, 911 and having them operate from policies that we’ve all agreed on. The — 911 will always send a police officer out. Police will arrest when they’ve got certain conditions. Prosecutors will prosecute when they can, etc. etc. All the way down the line. With the idea that the system will shift the burden of responsibility of controlling the batterer off the victim onto the community. The idea is that you focus on the abuser.  You bring the power of the State and the community to do that. You’re trying to reduce the opportunity of men to batter.

What is the basic role of an officer responding to a domestic call?

LT Jenkins:  When that officer first arrives on the scene, they are now a filter or a trap for the rest of the system. They’re the eyes and the ears of everybody else involved in domestic violence response…It requires police officers to be multi-taskers. And to be able to divide attention and learn those skills. You’re required to look for physical evidence that corroborates, to treat injuries — um — to take care of children that are on the scene. And then ultimately make a decision on — on what it is that you believe happened here. Based on what you see, what you hear and what you’re able to document

What are some of the consequences of improper police response?

LT Jenkins: The stakes are so high. If we make the wrong decision it could impact, adversely impact the safety of a woman and her children for years. She won’t access services. She won’t call the police again when she really needs ’em. She may take the law into her own hands.

And — and commit a dangerous assault or a homicide, God forbid, herself

How frequently do domestic violence take place in the US?

DET Degraffinried: The FBI says that a woman is a victim of domestic violence every 18 seconds.

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