Police documentation of criminal violence against women sets the stage for the way that many other actors in agencies and the community react to a woman seeking assistance. Accordingly, clear protocols must be mandated by law or developed as mandatory policy in order to ensure that police documentation facilitates the appropriate implementation of laws system-wide.
CASE STUDY – Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
The U.S. city of Saint Paul received legislative funding to create a “blueprint” (a highly detailed, foundational document) for how to build an effective criminal justice response to domestic violence. The resulting Blueprint for Safety focuses on criminal justice agencies only and includes specific guidance for every agency, including what victims need to be safe, what workers understand to be their responsibility to the victim and to all other interveners, and what is required by each worker and agency to hold an offender accountable. Chapter 3 of the Blueprint lays out detailed policies and protocols for police who respond to calls about family violence. The Blueprint includes clear direction for what to do in a variety of situations, including interacting with victims, incidents involving police employees, incidents involving public officials, incidents when children are present or when an offender is gone by the time police arrive, as well as specific guidance for incidents involving stalking or strangulation. The Blueprint also contains checklists for patrol reports about family violence incidents. The Blueprint goes on to present protocols for further investigation of domestic violence cases and also has specific guidance for supervising officers. See: Praxis International, Blueprint for Safety.