Domestic violence was a topic that was held in hushed tones until around 1970s when it finally sufficed out of the shadows and the victims were able to cry out for help and an ear as well as a helping hand was offered to them without stigmatization or even victimization. Historically, domestic violence was not recognized as an offence and thus many spouses especially women suffered at the hands of their brutal spouses behind the closed doors and in the public prevented to be loving and had all sorts of excuses for the visible ‘war’ wounds.
Controversially was the aspect that even respected men in the society like law enforcers and clergy men participated in this crime and enjoyed the protection of the society who would not believe they can offend in such a way. (Moriarty 2008) In a domestic violence, the offender-victim relationship should be studied to determine the right victims who are usually either of the spouse and their children. A spouse may be physically
and/or emotionally battered, falls into depression, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from the violence or worse dies (becoming homicide or commits suicide when they do not see another way out of the violence).
The children from domestic violence always bears the brunt (orphanage/foster care, custody and divorce battles that eats into them emotionally and
psychologically) of the relationship between the parents/guardians that turned hostile. Domestic violence should be treated with special care since it is an offense instigated by someone who was once trusted, loved and cherished and thus the victims may persevere for a while with the hope
that the offenders will turn around or some continue to suffer in silence as they feel they deserve it for their mistake of exercising bad choice of a spouse. Some feel that it is their pride that they have left and thus wont lose it too and such suffer in silence. (Jerin 2010)
In light of this, as a police chief, mandatory arrest for domestic violence offender would be a best policy since it shall act as a deterrence to the crime. The most painful crime is one instigated by a person you love and trust because they do not only hurt you physically but they also rob you of your self-esteem and identity and the ability to ever trust and love again. The mandatory arrest policy would also save the battered spouse from taking matters into their own hands (instances of battered woman syndrome-the victim becomes provoked and hutches a plan to maim the offender or stop the violence forever) and gives chance for the offender to be rehabilitated. If a problem is not highlighted and the offender apprehended, then he or she cannot be helped or rehabilitated.
It is a well propounded theory by penologists that crime is instigated by members of the society who were not in their right sense of mind and with rehabilitation, they can be reformed. Since cases of domestic violence are still on the sprawl, mandatory arrest policy would cut and curb the number as no one would want to have the criminal record; identifying the offence as a criminal and one that calls for mandatory arrest would helps in
highlighting the seriousness of the offence. (Jerin 2010)
Critics aver that mandatory arrest for domestic violence is a breach of the Fourteenth and fifteenth Amendments but not when it is exercised on terrorists. A terrorist is one who robs people of their lives without any justifiable reason except the belief to avenge for some committed on ‘his people’. Domestic violence is no much different from terrorism because one day you are in love and the next someone becomes brutal depriving you of the strength to face life; it is a barbaric offence that needs to be stopped for a society to form a long lasting families and when the going get rough (love ceases), parties should part ways amicably. (Moriarty 2008)
To make the mandatory arrest policy effective, the law enforcers designated to the unit should pass through victiminology studies to ensure that victims and offenders can be justifiably identified in any reported domestic violence. Victiminology is the study of emotional and financial harm suffered in an offending. A victiminologist therefore gauge who the real victim is, the extent of injuries suffered and how well they can be helped to heal. A victimologist is not an advocate of the victims and thus are able to remain objective in their duties to assess the direction of the ham and its extent. Victimologists ensures that the right arrest and prosecution is carried out and the true victim is helped out and not the offender who feigns helplessness. (Moriarty 2008)
Remarkably is the issue that women have always been labelled as the victim in domestic violence; for the mandatory policy to be widely accepted, the labelling theory should be abolished in this circumstance as it no secret that even man can be sexually abused as well as domestically abused regardless of their gender and body size or strength. All law enforcement officers should become aware of the fact that they should not walk into the scene of domestic violence with the predetermined mind that the woman is the victim. It should be treated just like any other crime scene where anyone present is a suspect until some facts are established. It is not always the person who makes the call at the police station who is the victim thus basic impartial training of the law enforcers should be exercised. (Jerin 2010)
Jerin, R.A. & L.J. (2010) The victims of a crime. Prentice Hall.
Moriarty, L.J. (2008). Controversies in victimology, 2nd E.d. Anderson Publishing