In fact, domestic violence is two-to-four times as prevalent in police officer families as it is in the general population. Yikes.
The National Center for Women & Policing report that two studies have found that at least forty percent of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to ten percent of families in the general population.
This is scary for many reasons, but perhaps most especially because police officers have privileges and accessibility that the average citizen does not.
Domestic violence is always a terrible crime, but victims of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the officer who is abusing them:
1. has a gun,
2. knows the location of battered women's shelters, and
3. knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim.
One of the most disturbing parts is that police departments often handle cases of police family violence informally; without an "official report, investigation, or even check of the victim's safety."
This seems almost impossibly shady, but who knows? On all the police procedurals I watch (and that would be MANY), the cops always want to process everything above the board. But maybe that's because our protagonists are "good cops"? Perhaps the reality is that not every cop is Benson or Stabler — it could be that the reality is much more depressing — or, er, realistic. At least it very much looks that way.
Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that NYPD cops are now required to run criminal background checks on victims of domestic violence. Yes, the victims. Jesus.
[Police Family Violence Fact Sheet]
Image via Anton Prado PHOTO/Shutterstock