New directions in Domestic Violence
For 30 years America has been locked in a process of attempting to treat domestic abusers.
The Duluth Abuser programme, advocated by radical feminists in the 1970's and 1980's has been the main vehicle for doing this. Every state has its "court mandated" abuser programme.
The evidence has shown for a long time that it is misplaced, it makes a very small difference of recidivism (only + 5%) and now an influential group of researchers are beginning to pull apart the reasons why it doesn't work and why this is almost inevitable.
At a time when there were no refuges in America, in a country geographically 36 times larger than the UK the political with a population about 6 times the size of the UK, the message needed to be strong to gain attention and to drive the finance to achieve some "intervention" in some truly horrendous circumstances.
In Britain providing shelters for abused women has become a multi million pound industry. Obviously it is a service that is needed - but on what scale? But the American notion that only men are abusers and only women are victims is being exposed for the misrepresentation that it truly is.
Children's safety needs to be the paramount focus of our efforts with domestic abuse, not just a woman's safety. Children are potentially at risk from both parents, there is virtually nothing they can do about the situations in which they find themselves and their "notion of normality" is damaged potentially forever by their experiences.
That is why work needs to be available with both men and women to help them change their behaviour and bring some light into some very dark places.
If you want to read about the details and the research of what is wrong with the Duluth abuser programme then you can "Google up" the California Alliance for Families and Children , Google up "Partner Abuse / John Hamel". There you can read the evidence of Murray Strauss, Richard Gelles, Dutton and Corvo and others. They produce a damning review of misrepresented statistics, of wasted resources and misplaced practices. They highlight the use of "anecdote only" in research, and the "woozle effect" of referring to research which demonstrates what is required and simply ignoring what is not liked, or demonstrates the opposite.
The Duluth abuser programme is the firewall against therapeutic interventions. In most cases therapeutic interventions are what is required.
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- Living with violence in the home
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