Incorporating Racism Into Domestic Violence Trainings for Police Officers: Problems and Solutions

Kim Huisman, University of Maine
Jeri Martinez, VT Network Against Domestic Violence
Cathleen Wilson, University of Maine

Teaching about domestic violence and racism is a dunting task that requires the inclusion of material that challenges dominant ideologies about race and gender. A recent training for police officers about domestic violence and racism serves as a good example of how challenging the task can be. Drawing from this one-day police training, from existing pedagogical literature, and from our collective experiences teaching about these issues, we address problems encountered and propose strategies to mitigate them. Some of problems addressed are embedded in the structure of society such as institutional racism and sexism and inadequate funding for trainings. Some stem from practices and policies within police departments, and others are rooted in the legacy of tension between police officers and feminist advocates. We propose a multi-level approach to implementing strategies to address these problems, which includes ongoing involvement during three stages of the training: pre-training, training, and post-training.

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Updated 05/20/2006