Federal Way police dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

  • Monday, October 21, 2019 12:23pm
  • Opinion

By Andy Hwang

Federal Way Chief of Police

Domestic violence is a serious crime that affects people of all incomes, races, ages, and gender. This social problem exists in every community and Federal Way is no exception.

In our city, police officers respond to over 2,700 domestic violence calls each year and it is consistently in our top five calls-for-service each month – about seven calls-per-day. Even with the significant number of calls responded to by police, 70% of domestic violence that occurs goes unreported.

Today, there are still women and children who are not safe, who are terrorized by someone who says they love them. These survivors need communities working in collaboration to help them get safe and hold perpetrators accountable in meaningful ways that actually stop the violence.

As a community we have made great strides to change the attitude of how domestic violence is viewed in our community and beyond, but a lot more work needs to be done.

Along with our visible enforcement efforts and the long-standing mandate to arrest offenders, the Federal Way Police Department participates in other efforts as well. For instance, we are partners with the Federal Way Domestic Violence Task Force, a group comprising representatives from law enforcement, prosecution, court processes, counseling, survivors’ advocacy and assistance, and more.

The task force comes together regularly to combine our efforts against this social problem. We work to promote DV prevention, victim safety, community awareness, and abuser accountability. Chairperson Lana Matthew and Secretary Janet Chance have been leaders of this group for many years; they play a key role to bring about positive change.

Crimes of domestic violence often occur behind closed doors, often in the privacy of homes, committed by one household member against another, making it difficult to detect. Lack of detection reduces opportunities for deterrence or intervention. Domestic violence has devastating impacts on children. Children growing up in homes where violence exists are abused and neglected at higher rates.

Among other things, household violence is often a learned behavior. Children that experience or observe domestic violence are impacted in their education and are more likely to continue the cycle of violence in dating relationships as youth and as adults.

We have accomplished a great deal, but there is so much work that still lies ahead. The Federal Way Police Department is committed to the safety of all household members. We are dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence that impacts many of our residents. We will continue collaborating with government and private human services agencies and advocates to reduce domestic violence in our community.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please join the Federal Way Police Department, the Federal Way DV task force, and many others in a common commitment to end violence in households and in family or dating relationships.

It is our pleasure to serve you!

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