Domestic disturbance: Do you call the police?

The hypo:

The first occurrence you hear your neighbors screaming and yelling. You hear stuff being thrown around and you even hear a lady scream, as if in pain. A scream which in fact, pushes you over the edge to call the police.

The police come, have a chat with the offending neighbors and leave with out arresting anybody.

FF a month later, and the same exact thing happens: Screaming, throwing stuff around, police and no arrests.

FF another month later. Same thing happens. Do you call the police this time?

Poll to come.

Picked number 2 but I could have gone “other” as well. What I have done (and I was in a situation like this) was to flag down the cops after about Call Three and ask them what the Hell was going on that no action was being taken. Depending on the knowledge/information I get I’ll either stop calling or keep calling.

Please call the fucking police.

On average, a victim of domestic violence tries to leave seven times before successfully getting away and staying away. Trying to leave is the most dangerous time for the victim; something like 3 out of 4 DV homicides happen during this period. If you let the fact that it’s happened a few times in the past color your response to what’s going on, do the math.

Isn’t it true, though, that some victims of domestic violence actually react angrily *against *outside attempts at intervention?

Hell yes. I’ll call every time.

This happened to me many years ago. I called every time, and nothing was ever done. Eventually they moved.

Unfortunately. Even worse the line between “abuser” and “victim” is nowhere as clear as we would like.
Giving legal advice at a women’s shelter can lead to some eye opening and depressing revelations.


Yes, it’s true. And others are happy to be rescued from the asshole beating them. I choose to assume that I can be of help to the victim. It’s part of my policy of not being an asshole myself.

AK84, that sounds like a rather interesting “Ask the…” thread.

I don’t know that there’s a meaningful answer to the question. “Some” like any? “Outside attempts at intervention” like putting the batterer in jail, or what? Some victims have angry reactions sometimes, sure. It’s certainly not the normal reaction. And it certainly shouldn’t define your general policy on responding to the sounds of an assault in progress.

I sure don’t know about that. I think it’s quite difficult for a batterer to present as anything other than a batterer; they tend to think a lot of their powers of persuasion.

The OP doesn’t tell me how well I know these neighbors or what I know about the local authorities. A lady screaming doesn’t impress me, she could be the abuser in a case like this. So I guess I’d keep calling for quite a while but I might find out something that makes me stop eventually.

Absolutely as many times and as long as necessary. A neighbour calling the police and coming to the door to announce that he had done so saved my life.

I was lucky that my support system was amazing and his friends banding together while I was still in the hospital helped wake me up to how insane this was before the sociopath finished talking me into believing it was all my fault.

I’d call 1000x if that’s what it took.

Standing ovation!!

Also consider that a victim acting angrily may be doing so for the benefit of her abuser. If they appear joyful and relieved and then nothing happens and they aren’t able to get out of the relationship, how do you think that will play out for them?

People have strange or unexpected emotional reactions all the time. It’s not always a true indication of their feelings.

There’s a principle found both in the talmud and the origin of Spider-man. To wit- if you know that some one is doing something wrong, and you have the power to safely stop them and you don’t then you are as guilty as they are.

After hearing domestic abuse across the hall, I called the cops. I would keep calling for as long as it took.

Me too. But I wouldn’t wait till the 3rd call. Here in Minneapolis, the police are required to arrest someone (or remove them from the home) in such situations; the fact that the victim doesn’t want the abuser to be arrested is of no consideration.

So by the 2nd call, at least, I will be calling their Lieutenant at the station asking why. And calling my City Council member at home right afterwards if the answer isn’t satisfactory.

Yes, I call. Every time. Partly because it needs to stop. Partly because you are disturbing the peace, but mostly because when my cousin was living in Montreal 15 or 20 years ago, a neighbour woman was murdered by her partner and no one had called to report the preceding disturbance.

I made a call last week. I imagine before the summer is over, I will be making another one.

Several years ago I made many calls. I could hear them shouting all the time. One night, there was a huge crash and I could hear him freaking out about almost hitting his head. She taunted him, screaming "hit me!"and he screamed back that she was crazy. She asked him if the police came, who do you think they will believe? Well, given that I had heard every word, and reported it to the police when I called, I think they probably believed him. I was so glad when they parted ways and the remaining one moved out. That was a long summer…