The average rate of families who experience domestic violence in the country is around 10 percent. When we look at police officers’ families, however, that number quadruples.
As the National Center for Women and Policing points out, two studies have found that at least 40%of police officer families experience domestic violence.
The most recent data on the matter shows that Officer-Involved Domestic Violence or OIDV, is a major problem.
Individuals who are the victims of domestic violence at the hands of police officer-batterers are often in a unique and particularly vulnerable situation. Unlike most victims of domestic violence, where the success of protective efforts depends on the cooperation of law enforcement, those subject to officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV) may, for a variety of reasons, be unable to secure the assistance they seek. This is particularly troublesome in light of increased rates of domestic violence in police officer families.
Even more startling than the fact that 40% of police officer families experiencing domestic violence is the fact that this number is likely far higher as it is estimated that much of it goes unreported.
According to Leigh Goodmark, author of Hands Up at Home: Militarized Masculinity and Police Officers Who Commit Intimate Partner,
The data on intimate partner abuse by police officers are both dated and potentially flawed, but in ways that make it more likely that abuse is being under—rather than over—reported. Most of the studies rely on self-reporting by police officers to establish prevalence of abuse. Self-reporting is a notoriously unreliable measure; as one study noted, ‘The issue of the reliability of self-reports data is problematic when considering any socially undesirable behavior.’
A shocking report out of New Orleans, Louisiana sheds light on this issue and illustrates just how big of a problem it actually is. As the Appeal reports:
Between 2014 and 2020, a complaint of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, or harassment was made against New Orleans police officers about every 10 days, according to a report published late last year by the Umbrella Coalition, a coalition of 13 local and national nonprofit and civil rights organizations. According to the report, nearly 190 of New Orleans’ police officers had complaints of this nature filed against them with the department’s public integrity unit. But, in that time, the department sustained only three percent of complaints involving sexual or intimate partner violence, according to a spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department.
Read More: 200 Cops in a Single Dept. Accused of Domestic Violence & Sex Crimes, Including Against Children