The resistance to talk about intimate partner violence (IPV) is one of the things that keeps it active and keeps us from looking for ways to address it. According to Coburn Place, a shelter and support group for survivors of IPV and their children, 40 percent of Black women have experienced IPV.
The National Library of Medicine states that these experiences lead to higher rates of depression, posttraumatic stress syndrome, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation. Those outcomes only speak to the internal experiences of the survivors, and don’t even touch on the external yet very damaging realities including socioeconomic struggles, housing displacement, broken families and too much else to discuss in just one article.
It is no secret that throughout history minority communities have not been able to rely on law enforcement to “serve and protect” them as they’re meant to do. In many heartbreaking cases, the moment law enforcement arrives, the situation only worsens for any minorities present. This is particularly true when it comes to incidents of IPV. And that is why the Justice Teams Network has worked tirelessly to create their Guide for Community Response Without Police.
This is a comprehensive, in-depth and step-by-step guide offering resources and guidance for all minority communities including communities of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and disabled individuals on how to handle IPV in your community without involving the police. We spoke with The Justice Teams Network Executive Director Cat Brooks to learn more about why this guide is so critical.
“The Police Is Going To Dominate”
A tense relationship between minority communities and the police already exists. But in addition to this preexisting dynamic that can be damaging in IPV situations, there is also the issue that when the police show up, they are going to take total and uncompromising control over what happens next – regardless if it’s what the survivor wants.
Brooks explains that police follow a “mandatory arrest law” when it comes to the primary aggressor in the situation. So whether or not the survivor wants their partner to be jailed, that may happen.
“Police tend to escalate,” says Brooks. “They are trained to subdue, and get control of the situation by any means.”