Domestic violence has been on the nation’s consciousness for good reason: not just because of abuse occurring among players in the National Football League, but also its long-lasting legacy. We know that violence in the home affects generations from all races and classes. With an estimated 20 to 30 percent of women experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime, it is likely that victims, survivors and batterers are among those we see daily. To support the end to violence, here are some of the latest offensive and defensive promising practices in the field.
Offensive Strategy: Stop Batterers’ Abuse
- Why Abuse? Portrayals of domestic violence too often ask, “Why didn’t the victim just leave?” when we should be asking, “Why did the batterer abuse?” Unlike what is said in the media, ending domestic violence is not simply a matter of anger management. The causes of domestic violence are rooted in cultural, social, economic and psychological factors that affect a batterer’s perception of control, gender roles, belief systems, appropriate responses to emotions and more.
- What Can We Do? Battery is learned, not innate, and can be changed. While programs across the country have achieved mixed success, the prevailing strategy is the Batterer Intervention Program (BIP). The most promising practices in BIP include working closely with court and probation offices, increasing accountability, and using appropriate assessments and management. To end abuse, we must employ a variety of techniques.. In response to multiple allegations of domestic violence against its players, the NFL is starting to take steps in the right direction by drawing on principles of the lean start-up, investigating how the U.S. Army conducted research and Case Review Committees to uncover the extent of abuse in a similar situation 12 years ago.
Defensive Strategy: Empower Victims of Abuse
- #WhyIStayed In light of the uproar about why a victim would stay in an abusive relationship, domestic violence survivor Beverly Gooden started the campaign #WhyIStayed and changed the tone of the national conversation. Stories from the campaign shed light on the lack of social support or heavy financial obligations that compel victims to stay. The campaign has brought forth stories of how many batterers isolate their partners from their family and friends and deny them access to bank accounts so they develop dependency. Our response to ensure the safety of all requires that we understand how real these perspectives are and that we support victims in the safest way possible.
- What Can We Do? In the U.S., the field of domestic violence prevention’s defensive support system is much more developed than its offensive one. Best practices to support victims of domestic abuse have been developed in crisis intervention, advocacy, safe homes, shelter, counseling, case management and children’s programming. In combination, these services start to address why victims stay by developing networks to get to safety and establish self-sufficiency.
We invite you to share your wisdom with us on the offensive and defensive domestic violence prevention initiatives that have worked in your community. We invite you to join us next week for our blog on internal communications.