According to the Department of Justice, every year nearly 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are assaulted by their partners. State and local governments around the country are increasingly establishing specialized units to investigate domestic violence crimes. A domestic violence investigator works alongside law enforcement to research, analyze and investigate domestic violence offences.
Domestic violence investigators are first and foremost criminal investigators. They investigate domestic violence crime scenes; interview victims, witnesses and suspects; gather and analyze evidence; provide technical assistance when needed; and testify as a government witness before grand juries and in criminal trials.
Due to the special nature of the crimes, domestic violence investigators also review police reports to determine if domestic violence charges should be added or dropped; act as an information and referral resource for the victim; obtain photos and medical records of the victim's injuries; obtain 911 tapes and jail phone records; and research a suspect's domestic violence history.
Domestic violence investigators are often required to have specialized knowledge of or training in issues specific to domestic violence cases, such as domestic violence law; identifying stalking and victim tampering behavior; effective enforcement of legal protection orders; child interview techniques; and strangulation analysis.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of a criminal investigator were $60,910 in 2008. A domestic violence investigator is a subcategory of criminal investigators.
The popular television series, "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," often portrays the job of a typical domestic violence investigator.