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Officers however, have skills and tactics not commonly possessed by civilians.
Professional training in force, weapons, intimidation, interrogation and surveillance — along with the cultural climate — become a dangerous and potentially lethal combination in a domestic situation.
In step with the civil rights movement, women's right to be safe from bodily harm, even within their own homes, was recognized.
States passed laws to protect women from violent husbands and intimate partners, moving domestic violence into the criminal arena.
These forms of abuse need to be addressed when the perpetrator is an officer.
They are misuses of institutional power — the badge, the gun, the support of the department — and there is the constant threat that he will use them all against her.
Twenty years ago DV advocates were considered radical when they suggested that a woman call the police when battered by her intimate partner.
This notion confronted men's sense of entitlement to dominate and to rule in the privacy of their homes.
Police are discouraged by the number of cases in which the victim drops criminal charges.
Discussion of verbal, emotional, sexual or psychological abuse is thus often considered irrelevant.
However, domestic violence is not solely about physical abuse.
By definition, domestic violence occurs within the family and generally within the privacy of the home.
Only physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse is against the law.
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The department hesitates to interfere in an employee's private life, and is extremely uncomfortable with the legal requirement to treat the offending officer like a common criminal.