For Domestic Violence Survivors, Calling the Police Isn't Always the Best Option

Two women who appear to be Asian sit next a Black woman who is wiping tears from her face and holding a gray pillow RODNAE Productions/Pexels

Many survivors, especially people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ folks don’t call the police in instances of domestic violence because of mistrust, fear that involving the authorities will exacerbate the violence, or negative prior experiences with police. This article explains the need for systems to change and describes alternative approaches to handling domestic violence that better center and support those who have experienced intimate partner violence. While focused on California, the discussion of alternative methods for helping violence survivors may be applicable in many locales.

“Researchers and survivor advocates are increasingly searching for alternative ways to address domestic violence. More and more, they are beginning to question: If involving the police and criminal justice system isn’t a safe, reliable option for most survivors, why is it offered as the main pathway for seeking help? The conversation has gained new urgency amidst the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls to reevaluate the scope of police funding and responsibilities.”