We have seen some disturbing stories in the media in recent years about professional football players charged with and convicted of domestic violence. Close to half of Americans believe that athletes should be banned permanently from the National Football League for these crimes. However, in fact, the rate of domestic violence among NFL players is 45 percent below the national average.
So which occupation has the highest rate? That would be police officers. Studies have found that a minimum of 40 percent of families of officers have experienced some type of domestic violence. This can include anything from harassment and stalking to homicide. That’s well above the 10 percent of the population as a whole.
Of course, the number could be much higher, since domestic abuse goes unreported, and family members of officers may believe that fellow police officers won’t help them. Victims of domestic violence by police officers may feel particularly at risk because the officer is licensed to carry a gun, is familiar with how the system works and is more likely to find the victim if he or she goes to a shelter.
Research has shown that even when there is evidence of guilt in domestic violence cases, officers rarely serve jail time or even lose their jobs. One study of Los Angeles officers found that from 1990 to 1997, in 227 cases of alleged domestic abuse, 91 were sustained. Of these, four officers were convicted on criminal charges. One had his conviction expunged.
Of course, many law enforcement officers are not domestic abusers, and they take any allegation of domestic violence seriously. Increasingly, they’re required to file a report when an accusation is made, and prosecutors can move forward with a case even without the alleged victim’s cooperation.
If you are charged with stalking, harassment, sexual abuse or violence towards a partner, spouse or other family member, it’s essential to take the situation seriously. Even an accusation can have significant ramifications on your life, career and future. A Florida criminal defense attorney can explain your legal options and help plan a strategy for dealing with the charges.