What Should Happen When Police Arrive
article in Spanish)
1, 2000, a host of new domestic violence laws went into effect
in California. These laws give new protections and new rights
to women victimized by their partner's violence against them.
But as we've come to learn the hard way, laws intended to protect
women are only as good as the paper they're written on if we don't
demand and monitor their enforcement. So in an effort to ensure
that women know our rights to justice ...
what should happen if you call the sheriff or police to report
must fill out a crime report, and they must send that report to
the district attorney for action. Ask them for a case number
before they leave. The victim has a right to receive a free
copy of the face sheet of the report within 48 hours of the incident
and the full report within five days.
must make an arrest when there is visible injury, no matter
how slight. In cases where there is no visible injury, they must
inform the victim that she has a right to make a citizen's arrest.
must remove all firearms from the home. This is new law, and
an important step to protect women. Officers should ask if there
are guns in the house. If they don't, make sure to tell them
then call us and report that they didn't ask.
must make an arrest on violations of a domestic violence restraining
order, whether or not that violation occurred in the officer's
presence. Formerly only county protocol (and almost never
enforced), this is now California law. Law enforcement is also
mandated to maintain a record of all restraining orders and inform
officers responding to a domestic violence call when there are
restraining orders in force. (Also new this year, it is against
the law for a person with a domestic violence restraining order
against them to possess, own or purchase a firearm.)
must offer the victim an Emergency Protective Order which
officers can issue on the spot, and which covers the victim for
one week, giving her time to get a more permanent order.
6. In cases
where both parties show signs of injury, the police must identify
and arrest the primary aggressor, i.e., the most significant
aggressor, regardless of who started the fight. They should
not arrest the victim!
7. They must
carry out a complete investigation of the crime, including a full
history of previous domestic violence, interviews with all witnesses,
photos of injuries and the scene, placing the 911 tape, medical
records in evidence, etc. This complete investigation will make
the case less dependent on the victim's testimony alone.
a community, we must know our rights and demand that
the sheriff and police respect them.
If you call police to protect you from domestic violence and officers
fail to follow these legally mandated protocols, please report
that failure to the Purple Berets. Please help us get this information
Call us for free copies of this flyer.
BERETS • PO Box 3064, Santa Rosa, CA 95402 • 707-887-0262