Domestic Violence Information
The Henniker Police Department is very proactive on domestic abuse issues. Our officers are very well trained not only on the domestic violence laws but also on the dynamics of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is defined as: "a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain and maintain POWER and CONTROL over another in an intimate relationship". This may include physical violence, sexual violence, mental and psychological abuse, stalking, economic abuse, using intimidation and emotional abuse. As you can see, domestic violence is about POWER and CONTROL it is NOT about physical violence or emotional abuse. The violence and emotional abuse is just a means to an end, which is to have complete and total power and control over another person. Domestic abuse is a CHOICE the abuser makes. It is not caused by stress, anger, substance abuse or use, mental illness, or genetics. For example, do you know anyone that does not have some type of stress in their life? Yet not everyone that experiences stress goes home and physically or emotionally abuses their spouse or children. It is NOT caused by anger. If phycial abuse was caused by anger then an abuser would act the same way towards everyone. For example, often times an abuser will reverse the blame onto a victim by stating "if you hadn't said that, then this wouldn't have happened" or "if you hadn't done that, this wouldn't have happened". However, if a police officer or his boss or his mother said the same thing that caused him to lose control with you, he/she would probably NOT have had the same abusive reaction towards a person in authority or another family member. If the abuse you or someone you know is experiencing was caused by uncontrollable anger, when the abuser lost control then he/she would lash out at whoever made him or her angry, not just the his or her spouse or significant other. Have you ever known anyone that expresses their anger with their spouse or signficant other by punching a door or wall or by throwing objects? What is the underlying message with these acts? The message is that the next time this door, wall or object could be you. These acts are committted for the purpose of maintaining POWER and CONTROL over the victim.
If you are in an abusive relationship you are not alone. In the United States 1 out of 4 women will experience abuse by an intimate partner sometime during her lifetime. 3 to 4 million women in the U.S. are abused in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. Domestic violence ranks as one of the nation's most expensive health care problems. Between 40 and 70% of people who abuse their spouses also abuse their children. On average, a victim of domestic abuse will leave his/her abuser 7 to 10 times before they leave for good. Children who witness domestic abuse in their homes are far more likely to become abusers as adults then children brought up in non-abusive homes.
The purpose of marriage is to enter into a partnership NOT ownership. This is America and nobody forfeits their constitutional right to the pursuit of happiness because they got married or entered into some other meaningful relationship.
If you believe that you may be involved in an abusive relationship please review the following pages which will provide you with some safety information and telephone numbers of services that can assist you. You may also contact this police department and speak to an officer to find out what your options are. The information you provide, unless it involved child abuse, will be held in the strictest confidence. We will not start an investigation or speak to ANYONE against your will. We WILL make sure that you understand all of the options available to you and your family and also discuss strategies on how to stay safe.
Even if you choose not to involve the police or some other agency, you may still apply to a domestic violence protective order by going to the Henniker District Court and requesting one. Protective orders are designed to protect you, your children and your family from your abuser. If an abuser violates a protective order it is a crime unto itself for which the abuser can be sentenced for up to a year in the county jail. The police department vigorously enforces protective orders and will afford you and your loved ones every protection possible. The Henniker District Court is located on Liberty Hill Road in Henniker.
Authored by Retired Chief Timothy Russell