While the continuing need for reforms to the criminal justice system to eradicate racism and discrimination leaves many survivors of relationship abuse reluctant to turn to law enforcement for help, we must continue to improve service provision to better meet the needs of those survivors who still utilize the criminal justice system. As first responders, it is crucial that law enforcement officers are able to accurately assess and respond to relationship abuse incidents, and a non-victim-blaming approach is imperative to secure safety for survivors. The following resources will assist law enforcement officers in responding to relationship abuse calls, determining the predominant aggressor, and appropriately responding to potential relationship abuse survivors.

A Note on Terminology

Domestic violence/relationship abuse refers to intimate relationships, not child abuse. “Woman” encompasses all female-identifying individuals and nonbinary and genderqueer people. Relationship abuse happens at the same rate in LGBTQI+ relationships and all of the information on this site is relevant for male victims and for individuals in LGBTQI+ relationships. In addition, please see our resources on LGBTQI+ relationships. Our goal is to encourage helping professionals to be gender inclusive. This includes using gender-neutral language when working with individuals, while continuing to analyze gender as a construct that has implications on gender based violence in heterosexual and LGBTQI+ relationships.