Domestic Violence – How to Report without Fear of Victimization
The violence that is committed within the walls of a home is the most distressing kind of violence that you can imagine. To make it worse, perpetrators of domestic violence often lie when the police are called. Consequently, domestic violence victims become disillusioned with law enforcement.
For that reason, it is imperative that a victim of domestic violence knows how to communicate with police. In that light, we present 10 tips for talking to law enforcement that will help a victim yield the best result.
The First Call
- Be sure to call from a safe location.
If you can’t leave the place, dial 911 and explain briefly to the call-receiver why you need help. It is important to give the operator your exact location, especially when you’re calling from a cell phone. It is advisable to report an abuse as soon as it occurs.
- Provide Relevant Information
While talking to the 911 operator, be sure to state your name and exactly why you are calling. If you can, let the operator know if your attacker has any weapons, if there are any children in the house, whether or not you need medical attention, and whether or not there’s a violation of any court orders.
- Delayed Reporting
If the situation doesn’t require urgent attention but you still wish to file a police report, consider calling the law enforcement’s non-emergency number. You should then be available for when a police officer calls back to take your report. Always remember to provide a number through which it is safe for police to call you back.
Speaking with Police
- Don’t speak in the presence of your abuser
It is best for the victim and the perpetrator to be interviewed separately.
- Stay calm
While emotions run high during an emergency, it is advisable to take a few deep breaths and remain calm, so you’re better able to report the facts to law enforcement.
- Start with the root of the current incident
Police will ask you what happened. This is your chance to give the chronology of the events up to the point you called for help. Try to stick to the current incident.
- Be truthful
Don’t make a mistake of lying about the facts of the case. Otherwise, you will risk your credibility and police might not be able to properly assess the situation.
- Express your true feelings
If you’re in fear, for instance, tell the police that. When police can capture such feelings in a report, it will give your case higher priority.
- Provide background whenever necessary
Police may ask you a series of questions known as lethality assessment. If they don’t, make sure you mention if your abuser has ever threatened or attempted to harm you or your children, or threatened or attempted to harm themselves. Other red flags, like alcohol or drug abuse, can also strengthen your case.
- Request for Resources
Whether or not an arrest is made, consider asking to speak with a domestic violence advocate. Likewise, if you don’t feel safe where you are at, especially if an arrest is not made, you can request to make arrangements with local shelter when still in police presence.