Understanding Why Women Withdraw Complaints Against Violent Partners

23 Nov, 2017

NADI (22 Nov 2017) Executive level Police Officers from around the Pacific spent their third day of training examining some of the reasons why many women withdraw complaints made to the police or decide not to leave violent relationships.

Police officers shared that one of the biggest problems they experience when dealing with domestic violence cases is where women withdraw criminal complaints against their partners. “It’s hard because it has an impact on how we view domestic violence cases. Many women wanted to withdraw cases even though they may have been severely assaulted, but then they would often turn up at the police station again several months later to report yet more violence done to them,” a participant said.

Women who return to their violent husbands are often criticized for their decision but there are a whole host of reasons they go back or drop complaints ranging from a lack of self-esteem, belief in the sanctity of marriage vows, financial dependence and especially because of their children if they have any and in most cases, women have nowhere else to go and there’s lack of support services available and inappropriate responses explained Shamima Ali lead trainer of the police training.

Women often did not want to end their relationship, only wanting the violence to stop, Ali said. However, they often found themselves stuck in a cycle of violence that could often end in a violent death or severe disability for the woman if no intervention was made to change the violent man’s attitudes and behaviors – or if she does not leave, continued Ali.
Another major barrier for a woman to report her partner’s violent behavior is to do with the complicated systems, long processes, inadequate laws and regressive attitudes of police officers and other people involved in the criminal justice system.

Participants include Police from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Australia.
The workshop began on Monday and will end on Friday, 24 November.

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