According to the 2016 Georgia Fatality Review Project, in ninety (90%) percent of stalking cases reviewed the victim had some form of interaction with law enforcement agencies. Victims of stalking almost always have a prior history of intimate partner violence with their stalker, and are at higher risk for being killed than domestic violence victims that are not stalked. However, for the majority of Georgia law enforcement agencies, training specifically on domestic violence, stalking and lethality is very limited. To ensure that law enforcement officers have a victim’s perspective and understanding, annual updates and training on domestic violence are a necessity.
In order to help law enforcement meet their training needs and bridge the gap between survivor and officer, Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) created a new position, the Police Engagement Advocate This advocate coordinates and facilitates training to law enforcement agencies in both Fulton and Gwinnett county. In this capacity, the Police Engagement Advocate has expanded our community focused domestic violence training to specifically address the issues and concerns faced by the law enforcement community and the laws that dictate their investigations. Since July 2018, PADV has trained over 150 officers. The program has also partnered with various prosecuting agencies to present on supplementary topics, such as Identifying Primary Aggressors and Building Domestic Violence Cases. The Police Engagement Advocate also provides specialized service to survivors by educating them on the criminal justice system and its many processes, as well as connecting them to prosecutors, investigators and attorneys.
Through ongoing training and relationship building, PADV’s Police Engagement program seeks to better the community’s response to domestic violence and provide assistance to increase the safety of survivors. A single law enforcement entity, prosecutor or domestic violence agency cannot end the crime of intimate partner violence on its own. We must work together to strengthen our response and make our homes and communities safe for all.