Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crimes of Domestic Violence

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9780130835253: Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crimes of Domestic Violence

The first book to explore-- in one volume--the causes, consequences, and prevalence of domestic violence and the positive law enforcement response. Using a socio-legal approach--with emphasis on the practical criminal justice perspective--it offers a contemporary view of the criminal justice experience with diverse forms of domestic violence and populations: violence against women; dating violence; sibling abuse; rape and incest; child and elder abuse and neglect; male battering; lesbian and gay violence; specific issues affecting African Americans and American Indians. Balanced and thorough, it exposes the myths about both victims and offenders, showing how women and men, the elderly and children, heterosexuals and homosexuals all can be perpetrators and victims as well. Explores in depth questions such as: What is domestic violence? Why does it happen and what are the consequences? Who are the offenders and who are the victims? What legislation exists relative to family violence? How does the court and law enforcement respond? How to you get help? What resources are available? For professionals in criminal justice, law enforcement, social work, counseling, education, etc., and for anyone wishing to be better, more thoroughly informed on this important issue.

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About the Author:

A pioneer in law enforcement, the author became the first uniformed female officer for her hometown, Lunenburg, MA, and the first female campus police officer at the Community College she had attended. The Massachusetts Senate honored her in 1978 as the first woman appointed constable for the City-of Fitchburg. In 1979 she was named an Outstanding Young Woman of America.

Trooper Gosselin graduated in the 61st Recruit Training Troop of the Massachusetts State Police in January, 1980. During the 12 years that followed she served as a uniformed officer performing route patrol activities; as an instructor at the Massachusetts State Police Academy; and as a major crime detective. Recognized as a local expert in Child Abuse Investigation she spoke on cable television and on radio. She and Trooper Gibbons appeared on America's Most Wanted when John Walsh presented their fugitive case on the show. Additionally, she has made many presentations at professional meetings with the Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Health, and for the Office of the District Attorney. Trooper Gosselin has testified on numerous major crime cases, both in Criminal Court and in Civil Hearings.

Like many police officers, her education was fragmented, interrupted over the years by demanding work and family responsibilities. Denise holds an Associate Degree in Science in Law Enforcement from Mt. Wachusett Community College; her Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Criminal justice were awarded from Westfield State College. At the University of Massachusetts she studied at the doctoral level in the Political Science department. She was awarded a scholarship to attend the first Child Abuse and Exploitation Investigative Techniques Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Denise has additional training in homicide investigation, rape, search and seizure, and stalking. In 1995 she studied at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Onati, Spain.

From 1991 to the present the author has lectured at Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and Westfield State College as an adjunct. Presently she serves on the faculty of the Criminal Justice and Sociology Department at Western New England College in Springfield, MA. Her research efforts have concentrated on Domestic Violence, Juvenile Law, and Interviewing/Interrogation. She developed the curriculum for courses in Domestic Violence and Interviewing/ Interrogation that have been made permanent course offerings at Western New England College. Recently Mrs. Gosselin taught Domestic Abuse for the 74th Massachusetts State Police Recruit Training Troop.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Thousands of police officers across the country routinely come face to face with domestic violence. With little direction they face the challenges that researchers and academics ponder. Rarely are they part of the intellectual discourse on abuse and neglect. This book is a small step toward bringing us all together.

My first domestic call came shortly after graduation from the Massachusetts State Police Academy in 1980. Impressed with my accomplishments, the call was a rude awakening. To this day I remember the gut-wrenching feeling when going through the front door of that home. I did not have a clue about what should be done. More surprisingly, the victim was a man, over six feet tall. He had just announced that he was moving out and his girlfriend didn't want him to leave. When he was on the phone with the police, she had grabbed the phone and struck him over the head with it. Blood was everywhere and he required numerous stitches. Afterwards I returned him to the house and counseled them both. The resolution never seemed quite right!

Fortunately, the movement to intervene in family violence had begun and I became a part of that change. W Michael Ryan, the Northwestern District Attorney, was instrumental toward developing my interest in domestic abuse. I owe him a debt of gratitude for the training and support that this office supplied while I was a detective assigned to his organization. We developed the first multidisciplinary team in Massachusetts to screen and investigate child abuse allegations. Struggling through the new legislation on mandated reporting, the office was inundated with complaints of sexual and physical abuse. Working together with the Department of Social Sciences, prosecutors, physicians, victim witnesses, and mental health agencies, an increase in successful prosecution was accomplished.

Our success was due in part to the aggressive investigation of family violence. It was treated like any other major crime. Child victim statements were routinely videotaped to assure the defense of their accuracy. Adult victims were treated equally and with respect regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, or the makeup of the offender. Evidence to corroborate the statement was collected through search warrants whenever possible. Perpetrators were arrested and prosecuted only after a thorough investigation. Interviews and interrogations were the norm in every case.

After 12 years on the state police force I became an educator at Western New England College in Springfield, MA. My passion to understand the dynamics of family violence and the role of criminal justice led me to develop a course on the topic in 1992. It has been offered numerous times since then, with minor revisions each time. My approach is sociolegal, with a leaning toward the criminal justice perspective. It is now a permanent course offering at our institution and has been cross-referenced and may be taken at the undergraduate level as a criminal justice or sociology course. There is so much to learn that this book can provide only a comprehensive beginning. It includes information on all forms of family violence.

The book is designed to follow in content the course that I have offered over the years. It is meant to assist both educators with no field experience and those with professional backgrounds to meld the theory and practice of domestic violence for students of the social sciences. It is meant to tear down myths about both victims and offenders. Women and men have been victimized. Elderly and children are present as both perpetrators and victims as well. Heterosexuals and homosexuals can both be violent; dating relationships can be dangerous. To leave anyone out is to ignore the pain and suffering that domestic violence brings.

Students of criminal justice tire quickly when hearing about the mistakes of the profession. Therefore, I wrote this book with an eye toward the future, without dwelling on the past. It is my desire that crimes of domestic violence be identified and the consequences understood. As much as possible, the perpetrators are characterized and victimization is illustrated. My purpose is to provide a positive and instructive book from the criminal justice perspective, bringing together the causes and consequences of domestic violence and law enforcement response. The text addresses the following questions: What is domestic violence? Why does it happen, and what are the consequences? Who are the offenders, and who are the victims? What legislation exists relative to family violence? How does the criminal justice community respond? How do you get help? What resources are available?

More human misery has been caused by domestic relationships than all of the wars in history combined. The very nature of these relationships dictates that they will be imperfect, fluctuate, and perhaps end. Yet it is not the unhappiness caused by a failed or flawed relationship that we find egregious. What is unacceptable is when one human being purposely inflicts pain upon another and does so by design. This is when the inevitable human discord crosses the line into abuse and one party chooses to apply a heavy hand to the other. It does not matter one bit whether the abuse takes the form of physical, emotional, or sexual violence. This type of act is such that it can and is being regulated by recently enacted laws in countries that are advanced in areas of public policy and criminal law enforcement. It is the wave of the future. More laws will follow; more countries will follow; more of us will agree. Heavy hands are wrong!

Writing this textbook has been a labor of love.

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