What challenges are faced by the partners of abusive officers?

Is it harder for an domestic abuse victim to seek help when his or her abuser is a police officer?

Experts say that it is. They say that, unfortunately, the same skills of intimidation and control that officers have to use in order to manage suspects on the street make them skillful are psychological abuse at home. They say that an anger issue can be amplified by the officer's need for dominance and authority. The fact that the officer is trained for combat and has access to a gun makes the mere threat of violence very effective. That psychological and emotional aspect of abuse is often the most difficult for the victim to overcome -- and what may tie him or her to the abuser even after the violence turns physical.

However, victims of domestic violence also face other problems when their abuser is a member of the legal force. First, they have to contend with a problem that they may have intimate knowledge about -- the general historical attitude among many police officers that domestic violence is a "family issue," not one that the police need to handle unless someone gets killed. The victim of abuse that's married to a police officer may have heard those opinions expressed by his or her abuser more than once. That could increase his or her reluctance to call for help.

Second, there's a well-known camaraderie between police officers. A victim who reports a police officer for physical abuse may believe that his or her report won't be taken seriously. In fact, the abuser may have actually told his or her victim that any call for help would be thwarted because of his or her position on the force.

Finally, the victim may be faced with more than the usual amount of guilt for pressing charges because of the likely repercussions the officer will face on the job. The victim's economic ties to the abuser can further complicate the situation.

No one should ever live under threat of constant abuse. If you're a victim of domestic violence, there is legal help available. If you feel unable to press a complaint and ask for an order of protection on your own, seek assistance today.

Source: abuseofpower.info, "The Impact of Police-Perpetrated Domestic Violence," accessed April 06, 2018

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