February Crime Prevention
Posted: 05 Feb 2021
By: Jennifer Danner
The SW Precinct is seeing an uncharacteristic increase in aggravated assault incidents, with the majority of these being domestic violence related.\
Given this, and nature of the last year, the Seattle Police Department would like to offer the following crime prevention newsletter focus on domestic violence- including what is domestic violence, what types of resources are available, and how to report domestic violence to law enforcement.
Always remember- if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or is in danger, call 911 immediately. Please also keep in mind that you can text 911, if you are in a situation where it is unsafe to speak. Call if you can, text if you can’t!
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is often mistaken as someone losing their temper or mutual fighting in a relationship. Domestic violence is NOT about getting angry or arguing - but it IS about power and control. It is a pattern of harmful behavior by one person intended to control another person within a romantic, intimate or family/household member relationship. People who experience domestic violence can be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating; or relatives. Men, women and children of all ages, races and classes can be victims. Without intervention, domestic violence can get worse, and could end in death.
Forms of Domestic Violence:
Domestic violence can take many forms, some of which are illegal. It can happen all the time or once in a while. Some forms of domestic violence are: emotional or verbal, controlling/intimidating, physical and sexual.
Reporting Domestic Violence to Law Enforcement:
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, police intervention can be lifesaving and may be part of your safety plan. The following information may assist you in feeling prepared whether you choose to call 911 or if police are summoned by someone else. You know your situation best; these tips are not meant to apply to every situation, rather offer helpful information to consider.
Tips and Considerations for Talking With Responding Officers:
- The primary duty of officers, when responding to a domestic violence situation, is to enforce the laws allegedly violated and to protect the complaining party.
- Officers may ask you specific questions to better understand the nature of the relationship, your living situation, and the incident that you are reporting.
- If your abusive partner is present, tell them you want to be interviewed separately.
- If you have been injured, show them any injuries on your body. Injuries may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the officers leave, call them back to take pictures. (The pictures may be used in court.)
- If your partner threatened you, tell them how they threatened you and if there was a witness. Try not to minimize your fear; if you are afraid your partner will hurt or kill you, tell the officers.
- If your abusive partner has broken any property, show the officers.
- If you have photos, text messages, emails or other evidence of the abuse you’ve experienced, show the officers.
- Tell the officers about any firearms your partner may own, and/or if your partner has threatened, harassed or injured you (or someone else) previously with a firearm.
- The officers must make a report stating what has occurred. This report can be used in court if your partner is charged with a crime.
- Write down the officers’ names, and the General Offense number of your case.
- Ask the officer if you can speak with the Victim Support Team.
- If they are not available to respond, you may call them to request a follow-up phone call.
- Officers will give you a “Seattle Police Domestic Violence Information and Resource Guide” that offers helpful information about the next steps in the criminal investigation and community resources.
Please visit our website for a full list of local resources: https://www.seattle.gov/cityattorney/crime-victim-assistance/getting-help
If You Need Help Now:
- If you’d like to report a violent assault, threat of violence or stalking behavior, please call 9-1-1.
- If you need immediate support and advocacy, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline, (24 hours everyday), 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY).
- To access confidential advocacy, emergency housing, and civil legal advocacy call the New Beginnings Hotline at 206-522-9472.
- If you’d like to speak to an SPD Victim Support Team advocate, please leave a message on our voicemail line: 206-684-7721.
- Please indicate whether it is safe for us to leave a message at your return number.
- If you’re searching for ways to support someone else who may be struggling in their relationship, please refer to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Friends and Family Guide (https://wscadv.org/resources/friends-family-guide/)