Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Counseling for Domestic Violence Victims...Maybe

On the occasions that the idea has come up over the years, I have always been adamantly opposed to mandating that domestic violence victims being forced into counseling by  the court system. Typically a frustrated new prosecutor who doesn't understand the dynamics or an indignant defense attorney whose client was ordered counseling brings up the idea which is quickly shot down with very good reasons. She is not a criminal...we are no better than the batterer trying to be a controlling factor in her life,etc. But what about in exchange for her request to drop charges?
Interesting program:

Program targets violence in home

Effort’s goal is to help victims break the cycle

 — Some fear retaliation. Others believe their partner’s promises that it will be the last time. Many simply don’t understand the legal process.

But regardless of the reasons, the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office wants victims of domestic violence to know their options.

That’s why the office now requires victims who want their cases dismissed to attend the Domestic Violence 101 Workshop and meet with an advocate one-on-one.

Officials say most who go through the process end up changing their minds and decide not to sign a non-prosecution affidavit. The form requests the office consider dismissing a case.

Rest of the story:


  1. Why isn't Domestic Violence thought of and treated as torture? They both have a recognizable profile of imprisonment, detention, enforced isolation, extreme physical and mental abuse and may end in death. Women are raped, beaten, burned, deprived of sleep, food and human contact. It's purpose is to break us. What one learns in order to survive, can make living later unbearable, causing post-traumatic stress even suicide years later. Why is it all the same things happen in Amnesty International reports and accounts of torture as do in women's homes across America. Why is it the constant level of abuse of women acceptable and/or even ignored?

    We need more innovative ways to stop the torture of women and children.

    Please read my post on the National Domestic Violence Hotline on how GPS helped save lives:

    My daughter's story:

  2. I agree, Cherry, violence against women and the devaluation of women is global and steeped in millenniums of misogeny. It is something to fight against every day. While fighting this fight it is also important to intervene locally to cries for help with the tools we have, in this case prosecution. There is no other way I know, at least while in crisis intervention mode, to show batterers that their torturous actions are not acceptable.
    It is about the perpetrator's actions which is why I struggle with the question of education for the victim when she wishes to return to her abuser.
    Prosecution is not always the safest outcome for victims of domestic terrorism. However,if the case is already in the system it may be effective to trade some empowerment education for consideration of her request to drop charges. I'm torn on this issue.


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