Policing Domestic Violence: Strategy, Competence, Training

  • Jarmo Tapio Houtsonen Police University College of Finland
Keywords: Domestic violence, police, training, competence, strategy


An effective implementation of domestic violence (DV) strategy and policy requires well-trained and competent employees. The article describes the DV training provisions offered for the basic degree police students in IMPRODOVA partner countries (Austria, France, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Scotland, and Slovenia). Contents and subject matters of available training courses and curricula are assessed in relation to policy recommendations, especially the Istanbul Convention. Results show that competencies that are relevant in identifying, intervening and preventing DV are usually presented to students in the context of more general courses. Policing of DV is rarely offered explicitly as a special course, or a clearly defined section in a larger module. Most of the important subject matters of DV, such as the needs of the victims, equality and human rights, are covered well in most classes. However, DV risk assessment is commonly introduced later in specialist courses. Even though generic policing competencies form the foundation and have a wide applicability in various situations, including DV encounters, there is a danger that students do not acquire a comprehensive understanding of DV if DV-related information is scattered all over the curriculum and not presented as a whole. The status quo of professionally handling DV by implementation of written strategies to fight DV requires well-motivated police officers with an open mind-set. Therefore, effective training should work on police officers dispositions to overcome the inertia rooted in minds and bodies and actively involve them into tackling this complex phenomenon.

How to Cite
Houtsonen, J. (2020). Policing Domestic Violence: Strategy, Competence, Training. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (19), 135-151. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/417