Monday, December 08, 2008

Xmas greetings of a different kind

The Manawatu Standard reports, in Central Districts, the police are sending out letters to families with a history of domestic violence warning them to behave over the Xmas period. This raises a number of questions and reactions from me;

1/ As members of the community we are now being constantly bombarded to act if we suspect family violence is happening. Yet this exercise clearly highlights that even when the police 'suspect' violence is occurring (which is surely why they are sending the letters) little can be done until a significant event has taken place, which is often too late.

2/ Will these letters raise stress levels resulting in the very problem they are trying to prevent? The article acknowledges that the letter can provoke a "negative reaction".

3/ Are police men and women social workers or law enforcement officers?

4/ Who signs the letter, because it is written in the first person? And who is the letter addressed to - the offender or the victim of past violence? Is there no problem with privacy or letters falling into the wrong hands? Or a letter being used to deliberately provoke someone?

5/ Are civil rights being ignored? If someone has been dealt with by the court should they be badgered by the police on the basis they 'might' re-offend? Or do we treat family violence offenders as a different class of people with no entitlement to the 'innocent until proven guilty' status?

6/ If an offender is told his or her home is being monitored is there a potential for the violence to simply shift elsewhere?

7/ If, heaven forbid, somebody is murdered in one of these families after receiving the letter, what are the legal implications for the police?

However, the same exercise was deemed to be a success in Counties-Manukau so maybe the risks and questionable interventions are worth taking. I just hope the police have thought it through thoroughly.


Anonymous said...

Of course the police are assuming the recipients of their mail-outs can read and understand the information supplied.
Once the booze kicks in for these cretins with anger management issues, any hope of containing an irrational responce to a streesful situation is lost and forgotten faster than it takes to give the missus a couple of black eyes.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign my name on the above. Its just gone 4 and i am on my 3rd G and T.


Anonymous said...

The post ends with three different pronunciations of "ough" in four words - cool!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4.25pm. Couldn't work out what you were talking about at first, but I see now. How observant, and quite remarkable really. Thanks for the bright spot.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

No wonder English is such a b-----d to learn.