What rights does someone have against law enforcement when this person has been discriminated against by law enforcement officers' lack of actions and the continued allowance of severe abuse and torment by her husband over a period of more than seven years?

Suppose that he was reported to police, bonded out, covid shut the courts down, and he made 2020 was unbearable, trapped in a house caring for our daughter, my dying mother, and trying to survive.

Suppose further that he asked Child Protective Services to investigate her repeatedly, tried to kill her repeatedly, wouldn't leave, drugged her, had sex with her, filmed it, sold it overseas, and possibly molested their daughter.

Suppose that in the course of this conduct by the husband he was so intelligent that he used the police force as a pawn to keep her compliant.

What options would someone in this situation have?

2 Answers 2


You can sue your ex in court for his various wrongs.

You can't sue the police for failing to act. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) (no law enforcement liability for inaction in the face of persistent pleas of a domestic violence victim to law enforcement that her ex was imminently about to do severe harm, when she sought to enforce a restraining order that was mandatory to enforce on its face).

  • 1
    or to phrase Castle Rock differently: The police have no duty to protect you in particular. Their duty is to the public at large.
    – Trish
    Oct 13, 2023 at 22:50
  • 2
    Or to phrase it differently differently: the police do not have to stop you being murdered even if they are right there and can do so at no risk to themselves or anybody else.
    – Dale M
    Oct 14, 2023 at 10:46

The first (and obvious) step is to file criminal charges against the husband. This can be done at the police or directly at a prosecutor's office or the local court, and non-profit victim support groups will help with that. A victim who cannot cope with written communications can simply walk into the courthouse, tell the receptionist 'I want to file criminal charges,' and get directed to a clerk who will take it down verbally, but that is very much the exception.

The prosecution would direct the police to investigate and then decide to press charges or not. If the victim disagrees with the dismissal of the case, the victim can first lodge a formal complaint and then take the prosecution to court (Klageerzwingungsverfahren). Then a judge decides if the prosecution should be ordered to file charges.

The obvious problem is that both the superiors of the initial prosecutor and later the court would look at the files of the case, and if the police originally decided to believe the husband, that will be written down there. A successful Klageerzwingungsverfahren is rather uncommon.

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