New York’s Standardized Domestic Incident Report (DIR)
Bob Passonno, Coordinator, Criminal Justice Training Programs at OPDV
History and Background
The Domestic Incident Report (DIR), also known as DCJS Form 3221, is the document that police are required to use for reporting, recording, and investigating all domestic incidents in New York State. The DIR (and accompanying Victim Rights Notice) were established pursuant to New York’s Family Protection Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1994. The statutory provisions for the standardized report are found in Criminal Procedure Law section 140.10(5) and Executive Law section 837(15).
The form has been revised six times since it was jointly developed by the New York State Police, the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence , and the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. The current DIR is the 05/2011 revision, although another revision is nearing completion and is expected to be ready for police use later in 2015.
Information Captured by the DIR
The New York State Domestic Incident Report Reference Manual defines domestic incident as “any disturbance, dispute, act of violence (threatened or actual), or report of an offense between members of the same family or household where police intervention occurs.” Other terms used to identify these calls include: “domestics,” “family fights,” or “family disputes.”
When Police Must Complete a DIR
Police must complete a DIR for all domestic incidents, even if their investigation of the incident reveals that no crime or offense was committed, or the incident actually involved a different event than what was originally reported, or if they had completed DIR(s) for prior incident(s) involving the parties.
A Vital Tool for Police
The police often use the DIR to:
- Document response, investigation, and actions taken
- Track course of conduct crimes and guide investigations
- Determine primary aggressor (current and future incidents
- Assist supervisors/administrators with case management and quality control
- Gain insight into the scope of the problem within a jurisdiction
- Enhance coordination with other agencies, including reminding officers to check DIR Repository
- Allow for competent court testimony by officers
- Lessen the risk of liability to the officer and agency
Other Benefits of DIRs
In addition to helping police identify and document domestic incidents, properly completed DIRs can also aid victims, guide police in their investigations and other duties, and assist other allied professionals in their tasks.
- Provides immediate documentation victims needed to gain Social Services and compensation
- Provides written information for future reference
- Corroborates victim’s account of what happened
For Allied Professionals:
- Assists prosecutors and judges in accessing related case information
- Provides documentation for all courts, including Family and Supreme Courts
- Provides information for Probation and Parole about possible violation of conditions
- Provides background information for CPS or PSA/APS
Frequently Asked Questions
- What if the victim does not speak English?
Officers should follow their department’s protocol for getting an interpreter. They should not rely on the suspect, family members or others at the scene to translate. There is a space for the interpreter’s name and contact information following the Statement of Allegations/Supporting Deposition on page 2.
- When must officers give a copy of the DIR to the victim?
Executive Law section 837(15) requires officers to give the pink VICTIM COPIES of Pages 1 and 2 and the Victim Rights Notice to the victims immediately after completing the report. If they do not do so, they must write the reason in the space provided at the bottom of page 1.
- How should officers complete page 2?
Executive Law section 837(15) requires designated space on the DIR for recording a victim’s allegations of domestic violence. Such statement of allegations/supporting deposition should contain the exact words of the victim/deponent, whether the officer writes the statement for the person or if the person writes their own statement. Officers should encourage the victim/deponent to reveal any history of abuse by documenting (at the very least) the “last, worst, first” incidents involving the suspect. If the victim chooses not to provide a statement, officers should write victim’s exact words in declining to do so in that space. They should not use words such as “refused” or “uncooperative” unless those were the exact words uttered by the victim in declining the statement.