Victims of Domestic Violence Still Reluctant to Report It, But Not To the Same Degree As in the Past

The Fort Smith [AR] Times Record publishes a reminder that Many Abused Women [Are] Reluctant To Seek Help.

Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence suggest that only slightly more than half of domestic violence incidents from 1994-2000 were reported.

In addition to fear of retaliation, cultural taboos may deter victims from reporting abuse. Also, risks remembered from their country of origin may continue to haunt them, such as fear of hefty fees to police for making complaints, fear of deportation, fear of eviction. And certain religions reportedly teach that victims should quietly endure abuse.

But law enforcement in Ft. Smith sees a trend toward increased reporting of abuse, which they attribute to better training and education of police.

Another important factor, undoubtedly, are recent laws allowing the police to make arrests, even without the cooperation of the victim.

This parallels Florida’s policy of prosecuting domestic violence, even when the victim opposes it.