Engaging Police and Community: The Role of Forensic Practitioners in Responding to Abusive Situations

  • Bridgette Webb
  • Sylvia Scheicher


Community policing has evolved as a multidimensional approach, containing philosophical, strategic and organisational elements, and taking on various forms, one of which is the coordinated community response (CCR). The significance of this approach in addressing domestic violence and child abuse is discussed in this work. Various sources indicate the high prevalence of domestic violence and maltreatment of children. To address such abuse, establishing an effective framework connecting victims not only to local authorities and formal agencies but also to other service providers (forensic, medical, support) and less obvious ‘community contact points’ could prove crucial. Evidence of the European commitment to community policing as well as to multisector intervention to combat domestic violence already exists, with research demonstrating national and regional initiatives of community policing strategies addressing domestic violence and child abuse across the continent. Victims often seek help from medical professionals when they incur physical injuries following abuse, therefore the active integration of medical service providers, specifically clinical forensic service providers (CFSPs) is essential in developing an effective CCR to abuse. Examples of the integration of forensic physicians into frameworks supporting the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence already exist in Germany and Austria. These collaborations bring together law enforcement, forensic and medical professionals to provide a multisector service to victims of violence. Given the EU’s commitment to community policing, the critical issue of domestic violence and child abuse, and already existing successful local approaches in this area, it is high time to transfer these concepts to a European level.

How to Cite
Webb, B., & Scheicher, S. (2015). Engaging Police and Community: The Role of Forensic Practitioners in Responding to Abusive Situations. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (13), 37-42. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/123