Thursday, April 05, 2007

Civilian Police Academy - Class 6 - part 2

What I'm Reading: In Flames by Michelle Perry; contest entries

What I'm writing: editing Chapters 25-30

Before I get on with Part Two of our class, a couple more of those other tidbits I learned from the Homicide detective.

Body dumping is a misdemeanor.

It's a 3rd degree felony to fail to report a crime against a child. Reported cases drop drastically in the summer. Why? Because the kids are out of school, so there's nobody around to notice or report suspicious circumstances.

More on that it's not like TV -- the detective has a case from November, 2005 and he's still waiting on the DNA results.

OK -- on with Part 2 -- Domestic Violence
It's the most dangerous call and officer can take. The children are the real long-term victims, even if they're not physically abused.

The Sheriff's Office has 5 Domestic Violence detectives. In a "good" month, they'll get 35 cases. Over 50 isn't that unusual.

9-10% of all homicides in the county are Domestic Violence related.

Abuse is about power and control.

The national average: 85-90% of Domestic Violence victims are female. However, this is a skewed statistic, because most male victims won't admit to being abused by a female. Also, those in m/m relationships also are reluctant to report abuse.

Most cases are handled first by patrol officers. Detectives may not be assigned until it's a repeat offender.

Abused children are 1000 times more likely to abuse as adults.

A woman in America is in greater danger of being physically harmed or killed by her partner/former partner than by a stranger or acquaintance. The home is the most dangerous place in the world for the woman. A woman is 9 times more likely to be injured in her home by someone who says "I Love You" than by a stranger on the street.

Our local judicial system has instigated a policy where there are now dedicated judges for domestic violence cases. This is likely to help mothers of young children who are deathly afraid of their fathers (who have often tried to kill them) from being forced into visitation with the father because the court requires it. There's a division between the criminal side and the civil side, and getting into the legalities of custody rights even in abusive relationships makes things extremely difficult.

The county does have a 'safe house' program. Its location is a well-kept secret. If women and children need to go there, calls are made, and someone picks them up. The sheriffs do not deliver them.

If this report seems rather dry, it's because there's no way for me to describe the emotional impact of the slides and video of those who have been victims, especially the children. They're the innocents, and they suffer the most.

The novel I'm writing touches on a halfway house and victims of domestic violence. I definitely have things to consider when I'm re-writing those scenes.


Marianne Arkins said...

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to sit through that ... children should never be hurt, but especially not EVER by the people who are supposed to love them more than anyone else.

Terry said...

It was tough -- what made it bearable was the obvious compassion the detectives felt, and how seriously they took their jobs as advocates for these children.

Heather Hiestand said...


Thanks for posting all this information. I'm glad to know most crimes are drug-related. Sometimes I feel like I use drug crimes as a crutch in my romantic suspense books but that's just a reflection of reality, I guess.