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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118569 Find in a Library
Title: Police Liability for Failure To Protect Battered Women
Journal: American Journal of Police  Volume:8  Issue:1  Dated:(1989)  Pages:71-87
Author(s): R A Jerin
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 17
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews Federal and State court rulings pertinent to police liability for failure to protect battered women.
Abstract: The prevailing position of the Federal courts is that the police can be held liable for either their actions or inactions. Liability may occur when, acting under color of law, the police fail to investigate, intervene, or enforce Federal rights on the basis of a citizen's gender or marital status. Federal courts have extended liability for the failure of the police to protect citizens in these instances because the officer failed to perform a legitimate governmental function. The legal liabilities imposed by the Federal courts apply to both State and Federal law enforcement officials under the Civil Rights Act. Based on the State cases examined, depending on the jurisdiction and the State tort acts, the extent of police liability is based on the existence of "special relationships" or the negligent performance of ministerial acts. Courts have decided that a special relationship exists in the cases of a holder of a court protection order and when a statutory duty is negligently performed by the police. In addition, the police can be held liable for failing to investigate criminal behavior when aware that a dangerous situation exists. State liability is ultimately controlled, however, by the extent of immunity granted to the police through State tort claims acts and the interpretation of these acts by each State's appellate courts. 66 notes.
Main Term(s): Legal remedies for battered women
Index Term(s): Negligence; Police legal limitations; Torts
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