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WHAT IS MANDATORY ARREST? (Adapted from Wise Geek.com)
A mandatory arrest law is a domestic violence statute that requires police to arrest an alleged batterer regardless of evidence or the wishes of the victim. Mandatory arrests are common in some regions but not used in others, partially due to considerable controversy over the validity of the law. While proponents say that mandatory arrest can save lives and may be more effective than other police domestic abuse tactics, opponents suggest that it may actually reduce the likelihood that abuse victims will call the police, and sometimes disregards the rights of the accused by failing to require evidence or probable cause for arrest.
Mandatory arrest laws gained popularity following a 1984 study conducted in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to this study, police found that arrest was the most successful means of diffusing a domestic violence situation and preventing an abuser from continuing to batter his or her victims.
The argument for mandatory arrest is based on the results of the 1984 study, as well as a general belief that removing an alleged attacker from contact with a victim is a means of protection for all involved. Proponents argue that insisting on arrest regardless of the victim’s desires can be important, since victims are often suffering from psychological as well as physical abuse and may not be able to rationally assess the situation. The goal of mandatory arrest is to physically protect victims that are too afraid of retaliation to press charges on their own account.
Unfortunately, detractors suggest that the policy can sometimes have the exact opposite effect. Abuse victims, knowing that an arrest will occur, may be too afraid to call the police for fear of retaliation from their abuser. According to some experts, the shame felt by the abuser upon arrest may be channeled into anger at the victim, which can sometimes trigger more violence and even homicide. Since an arrest does not guarantee a conviction, permanent restraining order, or other protection, a victim who does call the police may find his or her abuser back at the door within hours or weeks, and may be too frightened or wracked with guilt to call for help again.
The Massachusetts Statute can be found here:https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A/Section6 (Links to an external site.) , specifically in paragraph 7 of the section which states “arrest shall be the preferred response“.
QUESTION: Do you feel that police officers responding to a domestic abuse incident should be required to make an arrest (removing police discretion from the situation)? Explain why or why not. Does not have to be long, roughly around 200-300 words.