Domestic violence is harmful and potentially fatal, not only to individuals directly targeted by their abusers, but also to a victim's family members and friends, good Samaritans, counselors, coworkers, police officers, and everyone else exposed to it.
This month, for example, a father of three in Melbourne, Australia, was gunned down while trying to intervene in a domestic dispute. A second man who intervened and the female victim who was being dragged by her hair from a car were also shot by the male perpetrator.
A police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was also injured and nearly pushed from a second floor balcony during a struggle with a domestic violence suspect earlier this month.
That's why it is common for two or more police officers to respond and approach domestic calls with caution. They hope doing so will help decrease the risk to police officers in these unpredictable situations. "We never know what we're going to," said one police officer. "A simple check person call could turn into a person with a gun that could turn into a deadly force situation."
Not only can good Samaritans and others get killed while intervening in domestic disputes, they themselves can also seriously injure or kill someone and possibly face criminal charges, as a result.
All this has me wondering why two subway security guards in Montreal, Quebec, are under fire for not attempting to stop a man from attacking a woman who appeared to be his partner. The incident occurred the same day Montreal police announced that its officers would be taking over patrolling the increasingly violent subway system. According to news reports, the union representing subway security guards said the guards had no choice but to stand aside as the man assaulted his partner because police had ordered them to stop intervening in violent incidents.