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“Two studies have found that at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, (1, 2) in contrast to 10% of families in the general population.(3) A third study of older and more experienced officers found a rate of 24% (4), indicating that domestic violence is 2-4 times more common among police families than American families in general.”
Johnson, L.B. (1991). “On the front lines: Police stress and family well-being.” Hearing before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families House of Representatives: 102 Congress First Session May 20, p. 32-48. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.
Neidig, P.H., Russell, H.E. & Seng, A.F. (1992). “Interspousal aggression in law enforcement families: A preliminary investigation.” Police Studies, Vol. 15 (1), p. 30-38.
Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). “Physical violence in American families - risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8,145 families.” New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Neidig, P.H., Russell, H.E., & Sing, A.F. (1992). "Interspousal Aggression in Law Enforcement Personnel Attending the FOP Biennial Conference.” National FOP Journal. Fall/Winter 1992, 25-28.
“The reality is that even officers who are found guilty of domestic violence are unlikely to be fired, arrested, or referred for prosecution, raising concern that those who are tasked with enforcing the law cannot effectively police themselves. (5, 6, 7)
In 1998-1999, 23 domestic violence complaints were filed against Boston police employees, but none resulted in criminal prosecution. (6)
The San Diego City Attorney typically prosecutes 92% of the domestic violence cases that are referred, but only 42% of the cases involving a police officer as the perpetrator are prosecuted. (11)
Between 1990 and 1997, the Los Angles Police Department investigated 227 cases of alleged domestic violence by officers, of which 91 were sustained. Of these 91 allegations that were sustained by the department, only 4 resulted in a criminal conviction. That means that the LAPD itself determined in 91 cases that an officer had committed domestic violence, but only 4 were convicted on a criminal charge. Moreover, of these 4 officers who were convicted on a criminal charge of domestic violence, one was suspended for only 15 days and another had his conviction expunged. (12)”
5.Levinson, A. (June 29, 1997). “Abusers behind a badge.” Arizona Republic.
6.”Police departments fail to arrest policemen for wife abuse.” (November 15, 1998). The Boston Globe.
7.Feltgen, J. (October, 1996). “Domestic violence: When the abuser is a police officer.” The Police Chief, p. 42-49.
11.Thornton, K. (May 11, 1998). “Police and domestic violence.” San Diego Union-Tribune.
12.Domestic Violence Task Force. (1997). “Domestic Violence in the Los Angeles Police Department: How Well Does the Los Angeles Police Department Police Its Own?” Office of the Inspector General.
Edit: cleaned up citations for readability.
Stinson, Philip M. and Liederbach, John. (2013). "Fox in the Henhouse: A Study of Police Officers Arrested for Crimes Associated with Domestic and/or Family Violence.” Criminal Justice Faculty Publications: 6. https://scholarworks.bgsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who-hit-their-wives-or-girlfriends/380329/&httpsredir=1&article=1005&context=crim_just_pub Note: This article is probably the best for everyone involved in arguing about this statistic on reddit to read. It outlines the limits and lack of concrete data, the issues with self-reporting, and the lengths to which police forces go in limiting access to or collection of data. In addition, it has an important discussion of the lack of discipline faced by police officers arrested for domestic abuse. This, moreso than the statistical amount of abuse, is what is troubling. Issues of accountability, oversight, and self-policing by law enforcement is a significant issue in the United States and has dire consequences for people of color and the families of police officers.
“Officer-Involved Domestic Violence.” Stop Violence Against Women. Last updated 26 December 2018: thttp://www.stopvaw.org/officer-involved_domestic_violence
Friedersdorf, Conor. “Police Have a Much Bigger Domestic-Abuse Problem Than the NFL Does.” The Atlantic. 19 September 2014: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who-hit-their-wives-or-girlfriends/380329/
Forgie, Adam. “Do 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence? It's complicated.” KUTV Utah. 1 January 2019: https://kutv.com/news/local/40-of-police-officer-families-experience-domestic-violence-study-says Note: Despite the title, this article does not outright refute the claims made by the originally sourced article above. Rather, it provides further context and links to other studies, several of which have been cited here. Remebering to look broadly at an issue as complex as domestic violence is important, thus why I’ve included a more neutral perspective in the conversation through Forgie’s brief article.
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