Clarendon: The domestic violence problem
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Domestic violence occurs in two forms - namely, threats and disputes.
In the case of threats, statements are recorded from the complainant after which it is the duty of the police to find the accused and issue a warning not to carry out the act.
Inspector Owen Brown, sub-officer in charge of the Community Safety and Security Branch, Clarendon Division, reasoned that the threat is less than actually committing the actual crime and the police is empowered only to warn persons not to carry out the threat.
The inspector said threats levelled by men against men are the most serious and those are closely monitored to ensure the situation doesn't get out of control or to the point of action.
The period of monitoring usually depend on the degree of the threat. But in general, with all cases of threats, once they are reported and the warning issues, they are usually monitored until the situation is sorted out amicably.
However, if the person makes good on the threat and harms the person, then the punishment and penalty will be far more severe than is usual for that particular crime.
"Every step that we take is recorded and so a statement will be on the records to say that a warning was issued. Every entry is made into the diary and all of it will be compiled and presented as a case against the accused, and at that point in time they will not stand a chance in court," said Inspector Brown.
He also pointed out that warnings to persons not to carry out threats is a major deterrent to potential perpetrators of violence.
In cases of domestic disputes, the first course of remedial action by the police is to visit those involved.
If a person is dead, the family and relatives of the deceased will also be visited, and depending on the nature and outcome of the dispute, counselling or some other form of intervention is carried out.
Domestic disputes between couples are treated slightly different. Inspector Brown said that when a report is made, an assessment is usually done and then action is taken, based on the findings of the assessment.
"It starts with an immediate visit, where the accused is given a warning."
In special cases of domestic disputes where a person appears mentally ill, an evaluation will determine if they are fit to stand trial, if not, they will be referred to a mental institution for treatment and care.