On the beat: Look out for red flags

On the Beat with Constable Ryan Fleming

Domestic violence, family harm or in police radio code, 5F, makes up a very large part of our everyday business. For a new constable working through the modules required in the first two years of policing it is almost always the first module to be completed.

When I first joined the police, I had never really been exposed to domestic violence. I hadn’t really given it much thought. I was a typical person with the typical attitude of “why doesn’t she just leave him?”.

In the first few weeks at RNZPC I learned about the psychology behind domestic violence. I learned that leaving isn’t easy and a lot of manipulation, coercion and control goes into making it difficult for a partner to leave.

Over the next few weeks, I intend to expand some on the red flags and warning signs to watch out for. This might help a loved one, or yourself as you read this.

There is an excellent tool relating to domestic violence that I use often to highlight to someone who is in an abusive relationship – often they don’t even know. The Duluth Power and Control Wheel is a visual aide that spells out some of the red flags of abuse in a visual manner.

Power and control is broken into numerous categories:

• Using Coercion and Threats (Threatening suicide if you leave, using children as “weapons”, for example, by “reporting” you to Oranga Tamariki if you leave.

• Using Intimidation (looks, gestures, damaging property, abusing pets).

• Using Emotional Abuse (gaslighting, making you feel worthless).

• Using Isolation (Controlling who you see, isolating you from your support, such as friends and family)

• Minimising the Behaviour

• Using Children

• Using Male Privilege

• Using Economic Abuse

I will expand further one some of the points over successive weeks however if you notice some of the above red flags in yourself or a loved one, I urge you to seek help from the following resources.

Waitomo-Waipa Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843, Kainga Aroha 07 871 6506 – or come and see us.

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