Best Practices & Helpseeking Obstacles: Law Enforcement and Advocacy
Presenters: Dr. Sherry Hamby is Research Professor of Psychology and Director of the Life Paths Research Program at the University of the South, John Guard is a detective with the Major Crimes Division of the Pitt County, NC Sheriff’s office, and Margaret (Peg) Ruddy is the Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center of Scranton, PA, serving in that capacity for 22 years and employed by WRC for 30 years.
Description: The faculty will discuss the findings of a national study of domestic violence witnessed by children. Among other findings, an exemplary level of police response (that which included at least 6 “best practices” for law enforcement – follow up after initial contact, safety planning with victim, assessment of child’s needs, provision of 911 telephone, description of protection orders and court procedures, connection with available shelter and services, explanation of effects of domestic violence on children, and efforts to help victims feel safe) was most associated with arrest. Contact with advocates involving referrals and protection order information was most associated with separation from domestic violence perpetrators. Obstacles to accessing services were identified. Helpseeking was not deterred by obstacles in the directions anticipated by researchers. Criminal justice case attrition was high across the full spectrum of criminal legal interventions. Practitioner faculty will reflect on the research and analyze it in light of the “best practices” and obstacles to service in their respective fields.
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