Murders Put Focus on Same-Sex Domestic Abuse

BY Julie Bolcer

September 06 2011 10:00 AM ET

A spike in the number of same-sex partners killed in domestic violence episodes in Massachusetts draws attention to the inadequate response of law enforcement to the problem.

The Boston Globe reports on seven killings of same-sex partners since 2010, a sharp increase from one to three such murders in previous years. Advocates report that law enforcement officials and the court system fail to recognize, understand, and address the problem of same-sex domestic abuse, with fatal consequences for victims.

“Advocates say there is a deep resistance from some police departments to learn more about the issue,” according to the Globe. “They report dropping off brochures about services for victims only to have officers scoff or discard them. A few years ago, officers from one department in the state walked out of a workshop on helping gay domestic violence victims, said Curt Rogers, executive director of the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project in Cambridge.”

The Globe continued, “There are regular reports of both victim and batterer receiving restraining orders to stay away from each other because a judge was unable to identify the abuser. For the same reason, victims have been arrested along with their abusers after police received a report of an assault.”

While advocates acknowledge the increase in murders could be the result of more reporting and not a jump in violence, they view the tragedies as an opportunity to call for more attention from and specialized training for law enforcement agencies.







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