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Lesson #4: Domestic Violence First Response


Material for a 2-hour lesson, part of the course on Domestic Violence, developed by the Police Development Unit of the OSCE Spillover Monitor Mission to Skopje.


In the last decade thousands of police officers have been educated about domestic violence. States have passed legislation dictating under what circumstances an officer must make an arrest in a domestic violence case, and many police departments have developed policies regarding family abuse. Police patrol officers, who are normally the first responders to incidents of domestic violence, must possess the necessary skills to address the situation and then formulate and implement an effective plan of action.

This lesson reviews the steps you should follow when attending crimes or incidents related to domestic violence, considering the safety of the individuals involved, as well as your own safety and that of the offenders. It also provides techniques to be used to calm, control and defuse conflict situations. Finally, you will be able to practice with a number of practical scenarios to give you confidence in your ability to take control and handle domestic violence incidents in a proper and professional manner. 
Ideally, the officer should:

  • Conduct a through on-scene investigation and document the results.
  • Listen to the victim’s concerns.
  • Offer information.
  • Give victims immediate help.
  • Remain at the scene until the victim is satisfied that s/he is safe.

The goal of this lesson is to refresh participants’ knowledge of the practices of first response and conflict resolution in the context of Domestic Violence.

At the conclusion of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Outline the steps a police officer must take when first responding to Domestic Violence call.
  2. Outline the procedure for dealing with disputes.
  3. List and describe at least 5 techniques used for calming, controlling, and defusing a conflict situation.
  4. Outline the procedure for dealing with people who are intoxicated.