A national awareness campaign similar to the anti-drinking and driving movement is the most promising way to address the nation’s domestic violence problem, according to speakers at John Jay College Wednesday. They called it a public health challenge.
New Jersey police Sgt. Philip Seidle shot and killed his wife in 2015, three weeks after their divorce became final. A lawsuit by the victim’s children says police officials ignored numerous signs of his potential for violence, including a long record of excessive force complaints and 12 different calls for help from the victim, Tamara Wilson-Seidle.
Connecticut has a long record of arresting both domestic abusers and spouses or partners who fight back during an assault. A bill to curtail the practice cruised through the state legislature last week and is expected to be signed into law by the governor.
Nine officers in Connecticut were hurt last week when a barn exploded in the midst of a domestic violence situation–a reminder of the volatility of such incidents. “We don’t walk around covered head to toe in Kevlar,” said a New Haven officer. “So there is no preparation for these things.”
The surge of firearms-involved calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline involving firearms was attributed to increased publicity about mass shootings. Nearly 12,000 of the hotline’s calls in 2017 were related to guns, up from about 6,800 such contacts in 2016.
Since Colorado domestic violence victim Jessica Lenahan won her human rights case in 2011, police in many states still have a long way to go in enforcing federal laws requiring them to respond proactively to victims’ needs, speakers at a screening of the 2017 documentary Home Truth about the Lenahan case said this month.
Gun-control advocates who push for “one-size-fits-all” enforcement of laws that make it illegal for anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses to possess firearms “ignore the reality of intimate-partner abuse,” argues a paper published this month in the Ohio State Law Journal.
The failure to enforce municipal noise ordinances can create an environment that encourages lawbreaking, and can sometimes mean that police miss criminal behavior, warns an expert who specializes in the impact of noise on public health.
Former White House staff secretary was allowed to remain in his top job long after his colleagues had been told about spousal abuse allegations from his two former wives. FBI director Christopher Wray’s account differed from the one offered by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.