This week, new domestic violence laws took effect in Arkansas.
One of the laws requires officers to ask domestic violence victims a series of questions to determine their risk of being killed. Officers will read these questions from a "lethality assessment form" to determine whether to refer them to a shelter or intervention program.
I think it's a step in the right direction and I believe that laws like this will ultimately help victims of domestic abuse and will even save lives. But is this really the right way to go?
Our law enforcement officers are required to do so many things already. They have to stay on top of laws and ordinances, proper ways to handle weapons, ways to diffuse tough situations and the list goes on. Let's face it, they have a big job and put their lives on the line for not a lot of pay.
Now, on top of all that, Police are asked to be domestic violence counselors? In most situations, domestic violence counselors study for years and are specialists in their field.
And, let's look at this from the victim's perspective. Women who've been abused to the point of possibly losing their lives may not be comfortable answering questions read from a list by a responding police officer.
I believe the new domestic violence laws have good intentions and will do some good, but more needs to be done.
So what can lawmakers do to help domestic violence victims?
We're going to pose that question to you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protecting domestic violence victims, and the brave men and women sworn to protect us will make this A Better Region 8.
- Chris Conroy, KAIT VP & General Manager
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