Domestic Violence General Information:
The Longmont Police Department processed 741 cases of domestic violence in 2016– there were 488 arrests. This is an increase of 5.7% from 2015.
Historically, the City of Longmont has 40-42% of the domestic violence cases in Boulder County, even though it represents only a third of the population for the county.
- 75% of cases male was offender, 25% of the cases female was the offender.
- 476 children were present during domestic violence incidents in 2016– with 33% of the cases involving children. This is a 5% increase from 2015, where 353 children were present.
The Police Department sees only 20% of the cases of domestic violence.
Are you in a relationship that could be described as domestic violence? Take the quiz.
MYTH: If my spouse does not do drugs and alcohol, I won’t become a victim of domestic violence.
FACT: Only 16% of Longmont cases in 2010 involved the offender’s use of drugs or alcohol.
MYTH: Domestic violence happens mostly to people who are uneducated and/or unemployed.
FACT: In Boulder County, 64% of cases involved those with a High School diploma or higher education, and in 64% of cases, the defendant was employed.
MYTH: After being arrested for domestic violence, offenders are very unlikely to offend again.
FACT: In 2010 in Boulder County, 33% of those arrested for domestic violence had committed their second, third or more domestic violence offenses. That’s a total of 341 offenders in the year 2010 alone who have been arrested multiple times.
MYTH: Domestic violence is just a fight between a couple. It affects them only and isn’t anybody else’s business.
FACT: Domestic violence is not a fight. It is a pattern of behavior used by one person to exert POWER and CONTROL over another person in a relationship. Domestic violence affects our entire community. It is the No. 1 public safety issue in Longmont. More people are injured due to domestic violence than any other crime in our city. Children are the smallest victims of domestic violence. In fact, 273 children were present during domestic violence incidents in Longmont in 2010, and in 70% of those cases, the offender was charged with child abuse. For more information on the effects of domestic violence on children, click here.
HOW TO APPROACH SOMEONE YOU SUSPECT IS BEING ABUSED
- Start with three simple statements; “I believe you,” “It’s not your fault,” “It’s not okay.”
- Respect confidentiality. All discussions must occur in private, without other family members present. This is essential to building trust and ensuring their safety.
- Believe and validate their experiences. Listen to them and believe them. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know they are not alone. Many people have similar experiences.
- Acknowledge the injustice…The violence perpetrated against them is not their fault. No one deserves to be abused.
- Respect their autonomy. Respect their right to make decisions in their life, when they are ready. They are the experts on their own life. Let them know you will be there for them when they are ready.
- Help them plan for future safety. What have they tried in the past to keep safe? Is it working? Do they have a place to go if they need to escape?
- Promote access to community services. Know the resources in your community.
WHY DO VICTIMS STAY? WHY DO THEY GO BACK?
- Fear – Resistance or complaints often provoke worse violence. Victims also fear being found and beaten again if they leave. They are afraid of their children being hurt and of losing custody. They believe that there is a lack of protection from authorities and legal process. There are also very few safe places that they can go.
- Emotional Dependency – Some victims become emotionally dependent upon the abuser because of their childhood experiences. They believe that they are weak, inferior, and don’t deserve better treatment. They have feelings of insecurity over potential independence and lack of emotional support. They are afraid of making major life changes. Only about 15% stay because they still love the abuser and a few stay because of the social stigma of divorce.
- Financial Dependence – Many times the abuser is the sole wage earner in the family. If the abuser is arrested, he/she may lose his job and not be able to pay child support. The victim fears that he/she will not be able to support their family on their own.
- Guilt – The abused victims often feel guilty because they think they may have provoked the abuse. They also feel guilt over the failure of their marriage. Family, cultural, and religious beliefs that disapprove of divorce or separation under any circumstances may also pile guilt upon the victim.
- Isolation – Very often victims are forced into isolation by their partner who is jealous of any support or emotional ties the victim may have outside the home. Therefore, victims often have few if any friends, very little support from relatives, little or no money, no car, and no phone. This imposed isolation causes lost social skills and a lack of knowledge about alternatives they might have.
- Embarrassment and Shame – Most victims feel degraded and worthless as well as ashamed about remaining in an abusive relationship. Many victims are embarrassed and ashamed about their perceived failure in their household roles (i.e. keeping a peaceful home). Society promotes these feelings by generally blaming the victim for causing or accepting the abuse and the impact it has on the children.
- Children – The victim might believe that the children need both a mother and a father in the home. They believe that a better life financially is more important than leaving. They fear that the children will be emotionally damaged if there is a divorce. Children are often used as leverage by the abuser as leverage to keep the victim in check.
- Hope – Abusive relationships aren’t abusive from the beginning. The offender was once charming and caring, at least in appearances. The victim may hope that if they change into the person the abuser wants them to be, or if the abuser keeps their promises and stops, then everything will work out. Unfortunately, these hopes rarely come true.
HOW TO CONTACT A VICTIM: DO’S AND DON’TS
- If you are trying to help someone, do not leave text, email or voice messages with family members unless you know it is safe. If questioned by family members, do not indicate that you are calling about the domestic violence; rather, give an innocuous reason for the call.
- Always ask first if it is safe to talk and whether you should call the police. The batterer may be present, even if the batterer no longer lives in the same home. Develop a system of coded messages to signal danger or the batterer’s presence.
- Block identification of your number when calling by dialing *67 or the equivalent. This prevents a batterer from using “caller ID” to discover that the victim is seeking assistance.
- Keep the victim’s whereabouts confidential. Do not disclose addresses, telephone numbers, or information about the children without permission. Batterers often track down their former partners through third parties.
- Allow the person being abused to use your phone.
- Develop a referral list including the national domestic violence hotline, local shelters, domestic violence programs, batterers’ intervention programs, pro bono or sliding scale legal services, and children’s programs. Call (303)774-4534 for a list of Longmont non-emergency domestic violence resources.
- Nearly half of all murders committed in Colorado are committed by a current or former intimate partner and the victims are disproportionately female.
- “Tony Porter, Man Box, Don’t Act Like a Man” (Tony Porter, TEDx, December 10, 2010) Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere. “Don’t act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: break free of the “man box.”
- “Fatal Attraction” (Boston Magazine, October 2011)
- “Escape” (5280 Magazine, May 2013)
- “Stop Calling It Domestic Violence. It’s Intimate Terrorism” (Cosmopolitan Magazine, May 2013)
- Safety when preparing to leave an abuser. This article details creating a safety plan: getting ready to leave, taking your children with you, and after you’ve left. (WomensLaw.org, March 2016)
- Are You Experiencing the Cycle of Abuse? Many don’t realize that unhealthy aspects and behaviors in their relationship is part of the cycle of abuse (Revelstoke Mountaineer, October 31, 2017)
- Writing on the Wall – Signs of Domestic Abuse. “The best message to tell someone to prevent abuse if they can, is to be the healthiest version of themselves. Respect yourself with all your flaws, and don’t settle than less for someone who also respects yourself with all your flaws. And if that’s there, it’s harder for abusers to gain the control that they need in order for someone to accept their abusive behavior as normal. ..”
(Cherokee Tribune & Ledger-News , Dec 4, 2017)
- Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship by Lisa Aronson Fontes
- Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft
- Helping Her to Get Free: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women by Susan Brewster
For additional information and resources, please email or call LEVI at (303) 774-4534.