STUDY: Police commit domestic violence at nearly twice the national average rate
Law enforcement officers beat their wives or girlfriends at nearly double the rate of the rest of the population, and trying to control that is not only difficult for the victims but potentially deadly, experts say.
Even advocates for battered women are reluctant to dive into domestic violence cases involving police for fear of alienating the agencies they rely upon for help in other abuse cases. Perhaps the most notorious case of domestic violence involving a law enforcement officer happened in 2003, when the police chief of Tacoma, Wash., shot his wife to death in front of their two children after she complained to officers that he had abused her.
"A lot of women abused by police who call battered women’s shelters say, ‘We’re not going to report it because it won’t be taken seriously and we’re afraid,’ " said Kim Gandy, vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation in Virginia.
Aside from the fear of violent retaliation, women abused by police can also have trepidation about costing their husbands their jobs and jeopardizing their own economic future, Wetendorf said. “He characterized this incident as ‘a family matter,’ when it is actually not only that,” said Runner, who trains judges on how to handle domestic violence cases.