[Editor’s Note: The following column is written by Leon Krolikowski, Chief of Police.]
Domestic violence is both national and intimately local problem that knows no boundaries. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. According to former Attorney General Janet Reno, “Too many American women live in fear of the very people upon whom they depend for love and affection. Instead of providing refuge, the walls of many homes serve as prison bars.” Consequently, to make everyone aware of this national problem, October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Although our Town has a very low crime rate, crimes such as domestic violence have remained constant over many years. Domestic violence is New Canaan’s violent crime. If you live in New Canaan, and you are the victim of violence, it is highly probable that the perpetrator is someone that you love.
So far this year, our Department investigated 65 family dispute incidents. This is a significant increase compared to the same time period in 2013 when our Department investigated 38 incidents of reported domestic violence. This 71 percent increase should concern the entire New Canaan Community.
To be clear, not all of these incidents are classified as domestic violence. Yet, it is likely that despite this increase, the prevalence of domestic violence in our Town is much greater than what is reported due to chronic underreporting by victims.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone in any community regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, gender, nationality or educational background. We all need to work together on both preventing domestic violence and getting help for those in our community that are victims of domestic violence. In order to make us all more aware of this crime, I offer the following:
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. Domestic violence often involves emotionally abusive and controlling behavior that is a part of a pattern of dominance and control.
Domestic Violence Facts:
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- A woman is beaten every 15 seconds.
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence.
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
- 15% of domestic violence victims are men.
- In a national survey, 5.9 percent of women experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the 12-month period before the survey was conducted.
- 40%-60% of men whom abuse women also abuse their children.
- 30% of Americans know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
What is the role of the New Canaan Police Department?
If you believe you are the victim of domestic violence report this crime to our Department. Our Department investigates crimes related to domestic violence that have occurred in New Canaan, and when appropriate, we notify and coordinate domestic violence investigations for incidents that occur outside of New Canaan.
What Can You Do To Be Safe?
- Contact our Department for help:
- Call 911 and we will help.
- When you call tell us everything the abuser did.
- We will help you and your children leave your home safely.
- We will arrest your abuser if there is evidence of a crime.
- We will provide you with information on domestic violence programs and help.
- We will do our best to protect you.
- Get support from friends and family:
- Tell your supportive family, friends, co-workers or clergy what has happened, and rely upon them during an emergency.
- Get medical help:
- If you are hurt, go to the hospital, your doctor or call 911.
- Get a protective or restraining order:
- Our officers can explain how you can get a Protective Order or Restraining Order that may help keep you safe.
- Create a safety plan:
- Plan what to do before you feel unsafe. For more information on creating a safety plan see the below resources.
- For more information:
Please contact me directly at Leon.Krolikowski@newcanaanct.gov should you have a question, concern or an idea for this column.