Listen to Kim Bruce, System Change Advocate, Shelterhouse, Midland, MI, describing her efforts to get consistent law enforcement adherence.

 


Full audio recording: Increasing Your Program Capacity for System’s Change, October 2014
[Recording may experience delay before playing]

 

When responding to domestic violence calls, many officers who work in communities where AIR is implemented report their job is easier because they know victims have immediate advocacy support. They are relieved of the burden of trying to connect the victim to additional resources because the advocacy program now does this proactively. Officers’ morale is often improved because they know someone will be working with the victim after they leave the scene.

Praxis recently interviewed a Marquette, MI police officer about his perceptions of AIR:

What have you seen as the benefits of Advocacy-Initiated Response? To law enforcement officers? To victims? To others?

We believe that AIR benefits the victims because our experience is that the victim feels alone and does need someone to talk with or guide them. It also helps officers to know that someone will be talking with the victim about her experience in general and not only what happened that night.

Have you had any resistance from officers to doing this? Or any downsides to the practice? If so, what is this about?

Our officers are very good about contacting an advocate, and it is a necessary requirement when taking complaints of domestic violence. There are no downsides to this practice except it is another step or responsibility for the officer or “One more thing to remember.” But such is the case with any new procedure. We have been doing this practice for over 25 years, so none of our officers remember a time when we did not do this.

What would you say to other departments who are considering implementing AIR? What advice would you give them?

I would definitely recommend this procedure to other departments. It does not take but a minute to provide the victim with advocate information and for the police to call the advocate and advise them of the incident. But, I also think it is important that agencies establish this in the form of a written policy, that the action taken to connect the victim with advocacy is documented in the report, and that the reports are reviewed by supervisors to ensure compliance with the policy.

Most of the time this is an easy sell to law enforcement, but advocates may need to build the will to engage in AIR and to make adjustments when things are not going as planned.

Listen to Heather Addison, Blueprint Advocate, Marquette Co, MI describing their “community good-will” tour to problem-solve and troubleshoot inconsistencies in AIR implementation:

 


Full audio recording: Applying the Blueprint for Safety to Your Rural Coordinated Community Response to Battering, October 2016
[Recording may experience delay before playing]

 

As described in the clip above, each law enforcement agency may have unique concerns, confusion, or challenges to fully implement AIR. When working with law enforcement to promote, implement, and monitor AIR adherence, it is important to tailor your approach to each law enforcement agency in your community.