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Punish the perpetrator, not the victim
July 15, 2013 10:20 PM   Subscribe

"In reality, it's surprisingly hard to stop someone who really wants to murder you, especially if he has easy access to a gun. Restraining orders don't create a magic force field around the victim. Shelters help, but they are underfunded and depend on the victim giving up substantial rights to hold a job (which gives the abuser the ability to find you), have a social life, or even speak to family members," writes Amanda Marcotte, before summarising a Domestic Violence High Risk Team model of monitoring and escalating controls on the abuser, not the abused. Plus, the approach appears to be making a difference.

(Marcotte credits Rachel Louise Snyder's article in The New Yorker, but you have to subscribe to read the full article.)
posted by Athanassiel (40 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
It would be nice if other states would implement this program or something similar. However, domestic violence isn't really taken seriously everywhere. The courts in my state are particularly harsh on survivors of domestic violence. I doubt anything like this would ever come to pass in more conservative states.

I know many survivors who have battled the legal system and who wind up having to engage with their abusers because of custody and visitation arrangements. Their abusers know where they live. They abuse the kids. The courts and DSS do nothing but engage in victim blaming. Women who made the tragic and easy mistake of having a child with an abusive man (I really think it can happen to anyone) are stuck in a hellish situation for years on end. It's frustrating and demoralizing and downright disgusting. The stories I have heard are almost unbelievable.

So, yeah. This sounds amazing, but I think we have a long way to go in many places in the US. So many people in power do not take domestic violence seriously.
posted by sockermom at 11:43 PM on July 15, 2013 [17 favorites]


It would be nice if other states would implement this program or something similar. However, domestic violence isn't really taken seriously everywhere. The courts in my state are particularly harsh on survivors of domestic violence. I doubt anything like this would ever come to pass in more conservative states.

One of the greatest tragedies about the US (and quite a few other countries) is that it's not even indifference towards domestic violence victims amongst the political class, it's that they're actively aggressive. And it's not as if they don't know it, either. In fact, it's pretty clear that they're ashamed of it publicly, but they'll still complain about people accusing them of waging a War on Women.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:58 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


They take the details of each reported case of abuse, looking at risk factors such as stalking and chronic unemployment, and rate each abuser on a point system for how violent and controlling he is. Men who are rated high are then subject to heightened risk monitoring, and their victims are given extra resources to stay safe. If the abusers start acting up, they can have their child visitations terminated or be made to wear GPS trackers. They may even be put in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for violating probation or restraining orders—courtesy of a preventive detention program that was mostly used to prevent gang or drug violence in the past, a program that gives the government leeway to restrain you even if your behavior otherwise falls short of the threshold to charge you with further crimes.
i'm sure this isn't what the hive-mind wants to hear, but this is firmly in "pre-crime" territory. So, if the statistics say you are more likely to kill your ex... then it's off to the psychiatric prison for you? They are talking about making the punishment not fit the crime, but fit someone's statistical model of your mentality.
At the heart of this model is the formation of a High Risk Team composed of representatives from victim's services, law enforcement, probation, district attorney's office, certified batterers' intervention programs, corrections department, and local hospitals.
Do you have any sense of how completely inappropriate for the sort of subtle social work this requires "law enforcement", probation, DAs office and corrections are? For example, the local DAs office in my area (of Mass.) has started putting women on trial for obstruction of justice when they won't testify/recant testimony against their partners in domestic violence case. Or, women losing their children to child services when they let men violate restraining orders. It strikes me as entirely analogous to the sort of "something must be done" mentality that leads some liberals to conclude that US military intervention has to be used to prevent human rights abuses... domestic violence in the US is a total legal shitshow which illustrates every day that good intentions lead to some very bad outcomes.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:25 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


i'm sure this isn't what the hive-mind wants to hear, but this is firmly in "pre-crime" territory. So, if the statistics say you are more likely to kill your ex... then it's off to the psychiatric prison for you?

It sounds to me like if the statistics say that you are more likely to kill your ex...then it's heightened risk monitoring for you and more support for your victims.
posted by amarynth at 5:36 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't get the sense that people are sent to prison or a psych hospital based on a statistical profile. They are treated thusly after violatng protection orders or the terms of their probation. That seems pretty appropiate to me.
posted by burden at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


i'm sure this isn't what the hive-mind wants to hear, but this is firmly in "pre-crime" territory.

I don't know. There seem to be pretty clear patterns of escalation in domestic abuse. If you have someone who is engaging in the escalation pattern, it's way better to interrupt that pattern than to deal with yet another corpse, shrug, and say "what're ya gonna do?" And you can reasonably say that this program benefits the abuser as well -- because I think that boyfriend/husband/ex/whatever is probably better off under mild restraint than facing years in prison having escalated to murder. Unless your preferred outcome is a dead woman and no punishment for the guy (which is not what I think you are arguing, but isn't an uncommon outcome historically).
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:42 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


They may even be put in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for violating probation or restraining orders

That sounds like people get put in jail for violating probation or a restraining order, which happens all the time. The statistical profile is used to focus resources, so there's more monitoring of offenders who the statistical model says are at a higher risk of reoffending.

This isn't unlike what we already do in most criminal cases; people who are considered more likely to reoffend get more onerous conditions of probation, more serious consequences for violating probation, etc. Without see an example of how this is used in a specific case, it sounds more like changing resource allocation and focus than it does like "pre-crime."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:47 AM on July 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Another thing -- women have had to live under threat of abuse and murder by there intimate partners for... well, since forever. Everyone knows this (or is being willfully ignorant). I don't think it's unreasonable to turn things around and say "hey, guys, you are acting this way and that is not OK. Either sort your shit out or you will be restricted." It's sort of like the approach to rape that has the message "Guy, don't be a rapist," not "Gal, don't be a victim." The latter is well-intentioned (usually often), but it's treating a symptom -- all the vigilance in the world won't stop rapes as completely as if men just stopping raping. Similarly, all the heightened vigilance in the world where women have to be very careful about what they do (and may still get killed) won't protect them as well as early identification of abusers and measures that say "we've seen you, fix your act."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:51 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


i'm sure this isn't what the hive-mind wants to hear, but this is firmly in "pre-crime" territory. So, if the statistics say you are more likely to kill your ex... then it's off to the psychiatric prison for you?
Here, I'll highlight the important part for you:
They may even be put in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for violating probation or restraining orders...
See that part? The part in bold? That's a crime being committed there. That's what they are being put in jail or a psych hospital for. The problem is that, while it is well understood as a crime, it is rarely enforced or prosecuted as such.
posted by mystyk at 5:55 AM on July 16, 2013 [26 favorites]


If you have someone who is engaging in the escalation pattern, it's way better to interrupt that pattern than to deal with yet another corpse, shrug, and say "what're ya gonna do?"

The problem is that this is the same justice system that brought you the Zimmerman trial, the same prosecutors that charged Aaron Schwartz, the same cops that... the same prisons that torture people. And giving these institutions more power in domestic violence cases is definitely going to make things better?

That sounds like people get put in jail for violating probation or a restraining order, which happens all the time. The statistical profile is used to focus resources, so there's more monitoring of offenders who the statistical model says are at a higher risk of reoffending.

That's some pretty antiseptic language. Practically the whole probation office of Springfield, MA just got indicted for corruption: that's who is going to help decide whether the proverbial abuser gets sent to psychiatric prison for a violation.... and psychiatric prison is basically the seventh circle of hell in the US.

I don't think it's unreasonable to turn things around and say "hey, guys, you are acting this way and that is not OK. Either sort your shit out or you will be restricted."

This is a power fantasy on your part: social worker Rambo mowing down a field of Russian Spetznas abusive spouses. People have the same fantasies about "sex offenders," who are even less sympathetic than domestic abusers/killers and the laws that have resulted are incredibly unjust. But it's the same law in the end, the law of unintended consequences.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:03 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I see your point ennui, but maybe these are two separate problems. We certainly need a much more just, less corrupt justice system. That's a tall order and it effects all crimes -- (Should we stop prosecuting all homicides because some of those cases look like the Zimmerman trial?). We also need to reduce partner violence. I think we can work on both at the same time.
posted by cubby at 6:45 AM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


ennui.bz, while I tend to agree that our current justice system has serious problems, it's the only one we have. Are you ok with women (and some men) continuing to be killed by their partners because current methods are ineffective and even punitive towards the victim? Because that's what is happening and will continue to happen.

If you have a better solution, that takes into account that we don't have the option of upending our current system and starting from scratch, then please elaborate.

We are not talking about "dude accused by his wife with no proof," we are talking about people who have already abused their partner and show signs of continuing to escalate, signs that are backed up by lots of research into the phenomenon of partner abuse.
posted by emjaybee at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


ennui, a good starting point for you would be the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment from 1980-1981.

The criminal justic system isn't perfect, but we have really good evidence that we can save lives with arrests and more restriction on high-risk offenders. A general mistrust of police power is not a good reason to let violent partners murder their victims.
posted by kavasa at 6:54 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


>If you have someone who is engaging in the escalation pattern, it's way better to interrupt that pattern than to deal with yet another corpse, shrug, and say "what're ya gonna do?"

The problem is that this is the same justice system that brought you the Zimmerman trial, the same prosecutors that charged Aaron Schwartz, the same cops that... the same prisons that torture people. And giving these institutions more power in domestic violence cases is definitely going to make things better?


This is a potential derail, but it seems to be that Zimmerman is a case where there should have been more intervention and deescalation. It's not like he just decided to be a "neighborhood watch person" and went out and bought a gun that morning. And look -- dead kid. With domestic abuse, we have a very predictable pattern of behavior that leads to a lot of dead and terrorized women, and it seems to me that your response is just another "what're ya gonna do?"
If we don't take seriously predictors of violent behavior, then we end up with violent actions, corpses, ruined lives, destroyed families, and damaged neighborhoods. The system we have isn't working at all, so what do you suggest? We need to clean up the justice system, no argument, but putting up with the current system is OK, either.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:11 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


>I don't think it's unreasonable to turn things around and say "hey, guys, you are acting this way and that is not OK. Either sort your shit out or you will be restricted."

This is a power fantasy on your part: social worker Rambo mowing down a field of Russian Spetznas abusive spouses. People have the same fantasies about "sex offenders," who are even less sympathetic than domestic abusers/killers and the laws that have resulted are incredibly unjust. But it's the same law in the end, the law of unintended consequences.


So... men should not be accountable for their actions? We have tried that for at least 5000 years, and it's not really working all that well, except, perhaps for abusers.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:13 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


while I tend to agree that our current justice system has serious problems, it's the only one we have. Are you ok with women (and some men) continuing to be killed by their partners because current methods are ineffective and even punitive towards the victim? Because that's what is happening and will continue to happen.

Do you recognize that this is the same rationale for the War on TerrorTM? You could defend any policy the same way: do you want the abusers/terrorists/pedophiles to win?

We are not talking about "dude accused by his wife with no proof," we are talking about people who have already abused their partner and show signs of continuing to escalate, signs that are backed up by lots of research into the phenomenon of partner abuse.

Spend some time in court watching restraining orders get processed.... it's not a clean, scientific process. If you really have such a robust statistical model of abuse, why bother with court at all? That's the problem with pre-crime, I mean, chronically unemployed is listed as one of the statistical factors. Think about that one for a second.

You could seriously reduce domestic violence just by insuring that everyone has access to affordable housing: getting kicked out of your apartment or leaving doesn't make you homeless. But, you know, that would actually cost real money. It's easier to pretend you can use the legal system as a finely-tuned behavior modification program when it's a blunt instrument.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:19 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Genji, I wouldn't agree that it's "not working at all." We've significantly changed our approach - especially since the MDVE - and the number of corpses is going down, as is the number of victims being revictimized by the police. Even when the abuser is another police officer! Most departments I know of near me have a policy where if an officer is working in the town they live in and a DV call is made about their home, a neighboring department will handle that call. And if that officer is a sergeant or lieutant, someone with a higher rank is going to personally oversee that call, etc.

There are a lot of people in LE that take these issues very seriously and work very hard at handling them correctly.
posted by kavasa at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


More productively (I hope), there are some additional thoughts;

There was an FPP last year about police using a questionnaire at every domestic abuse complaint ("the ability to breathe"). The thing that struck me about it was that it replaced "oh, it's the Johnsons, again, they are always fighting" with "this situation has 8 out of 12 predictors for lethal domestic abuse," and that was more likely to get official action because it was de-normalized. This program seems to work in the same way.

Additionally, while domestic violence happens everywhere, it seems to me that improvements to the social infrastructure, increased employment, reductions in imprisonment for non-violent crimes -- basically social options -- would also reduce some stresses related to abuse.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:33 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm a fan of mental health support for people who have mental health problems. Some mental health problems or personality disorders (including the effects of poverty and child abuse on the human developmen) can cause people to be dangerous to people around them.

Making everyone around the person live in hiding, is not a healthy way to run a society. People who were neglected, abused, raised in chronically unstable environments, or raised in an environment that was unresponsive to their specific needs (if inwell intentioned parents this happens)--- should be given a safe place to heal and get support.

That safe space should not include their right to terrorize people around then while they recover the ability to be safe people that don't go around terrorizing, manipulating, dominating, and psychologically or physically destroying people around them.

These behaviors fit very well established patterns and terrorizing other people, even simply with verbal threats to their welfare, should be taken a lot more seriously as a crime with very real long term consequences to the lives of others. Carrying shot guns around and telling your ex you'd like to kill them when they displease you is a seriously disturbing behavior, screaming in people's faces that they don't deserve to live and should beaten can be as terrifying as actually getting hit in some cases.

Psychological warfare is a real thing that functions along side physical and sexual violence and people engaging in it should be taken more seriously as the threats they are. I am a fan of addressing things at their root, I think our prison system is fucked up too, I believe we have the skills to help many people recover from trauma, functional deficits, abusive behavior patterns, and lack of skill development that results from inadequate support during earlier childhood.

And that we should use them-- even for people who don't have the money to pay for them. We know how to use physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other forms of training and development to help people develop skill sets that would allow them to meet their own needs in a healthy way, rather than waging war on innocent people to get their needs met. But that has to include the door to having their needs be met being open. That includes jobs that match people's actually abilities and pay a living wage and aren't destructive to human welfare being in existence. If the doors are all closed you're forcing people to choose criminal/abusive behaviors to getting needs met or the horrific suffering that exists on the spectrum of being disenfranchised, disempowered, hungry, unfulfilled, unloved, unneeded, overworked to the point of illness... etc.... People literally becoming mentally and physically ill under those conditions and eventually can die if they don't convert to "personality disordered" coping mechanisms.

Our prison system often functions to patrol abused, overworked, neglected, and disabled people who got they way from a system that failed to meet their needs in the beginning. There are many ways to address these things, but one of them includes stoping the cycles of violence perpetuated by abusive people, even if their violence comes from understandable origins. If someone has endured so much suffering or abuse themselves that they can't stop themselves from abusing or terrorizing everyone around them, it is not an acceptable solution to just let them go on harming and scaring the shit out of other people. They need to be stopped. If after being stopped they are in pain and suffering because they aren't allowed to act out their abusive belief system- I want them to get help, but for help to work people need to see they have to change the way they treat others.

Allowing dangerous people to keep being free to abuse others while they go to therapy (or don't) sounds nice, but it's not effective. I like harm reduction for unhealthy coping behaviors, but not when the behaviors in question include harming everyone around you.

But yes at it's root, we need to understand what sorts of factors lead people to have or feel they need abusive belief systems and patterns of behavior and we DO have lot's of great research about that which is not being implemented into how we support families, children, and human beings in general. Basically because we want people dying from the inside out from horrific living conditions to go out nicely. But creating peace means our justice system should value peace as well, even for those who have valued violence. That doesn't mean giving freedom to dangerous people however, and yes even the Jainists who valued eating only food that caused the smallest amount of harm possible to the plant, still had a military. Without self defense, this world can destroy you, no matter how innocent or peaceful you are or how desperately you beg for mercy.

Working with kids with disabilities one on one you can see how possible it is to work with violent people without using violence or even punishment if you have enough staff and resources to keep everyone safe. Redirecting behavior, or having consequences for behavior, can be done without inflicting harm or shame on the person to force the change. But that includes an environment were the kids are not capable of destroying people around them because they are given more freedom than they can actually use safely.

I seriously question that our culture values the freedom to harm others as a human right over the right to not be harmed. I think have it backwards, but that we should also work to see the sources of harmful behavior with compassion whenever possible.
posted by xarnop at 7:50 AM on July 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


One point the blogger Atrios makes frequently is that there's no big pool of money out there that right-thinking people can direct towards the worthiest projects. His canonical example of this is that, in his ideal world, we'd be spending a bunch of money on intra-city infrastructure improvements rather than on high-speed rail. But there's no money for intra-city infrastructure improvements and there is some for high-speed rail. But because high-speed rail is itself a good thing, if not as good as intra-city improvements would be, right-thinking people should support the development of high-speed rail.

I think there's something similar going on here. It might be better to spend a bunch of effort and money on giving everyone affordable housing or fundamentally reforming the justice system instead of using the justice system more effectively to reduce domestic violence. But there's no chance (in the short run) that we're going to give everyone affordable housing or tear down the justice system, and the small reform discussed in the post seems to have good effects. Let's accept the good thing we can get rather than turn it down in favor of the best thing that we can't get.
posted by burden at 7:51 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


let me tell a sex offender story and then i'm out:

If you are officially designated a "sex offender" in the US you are required to register your address whenever you move as well as inform other about your status as a "sex offender," and a host of other release conditions you have to satisfy as a result of years of new laws to combat rape, pedophilia, etc. As a result, a large number of sex offenders are homeless and register their address as "Streets of Town X" or "homeless shelter." Now, a local sex offender is living in a local homeless shelter. He is an alcoholic and while very drunk he attempts to unsuccessfully kill himself by cutting up a shelter blanket and hanging himself: he is kicked out of the shelter for drinking and taken to the hospital. While at the hospital he is charged with assault (for fighting with the EMTs) and destruction of property (for cutting up the blanket) but completes an alcohol detox program and the charges are dropped whereupon he was promptly brought up on violation of his release conditions for failing to register his change of address after being kicked out of the shelter.

That's the justice system we have.

There are a lot of people in LE that take these issues very seriously and work very hard at handling them correctly.

You can tell yourself a story about how everything is improving with training and new programs! and whatever... I think you have to, if you work as a professional in these fields. But the reality is a machine which is grinding up people, especially deeply unsympathetic people but slowly dragging everyone else in with them.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:56 AM on July 16, 2013


Well, I'm really glad that instead of discussing innovative programs to help protect domestic violence victims, we got to discuss how mean the corrupt police system is and how it's super-mean to perpetrators of domestic violence.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2013 [32 favorites]


ennui.bz the solution to that is to create job and housing opportunities for ex offenders where they will not have access to children or people who are unprepared to keep themselves safe. In many ways, providing more monitoring and support for past offendors would include creating more safe opportunities for them to work where they would be supervised and not allowed to harm people. This could be good for ex-offenders as well. Long term housing where offenders could have food and shelter and counseling services would be a step up from homelessness right? Even if monitered?

Allowing sex offenders access to children is not a good solution to the problem you propose no matter how terrible the circumstances are for offenders who have restricted access to society and suffer for it.
posted by xarnop at 8:02 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


DV enforcement is FAR from free, and a LOT of that money goes to things like victims advocates, who do not work for the police. Further, looking at a bunch of empirical data and responding with a bald, evidence-free assertion that "more affordable housing" would help fix things is just... I don't even have a word for that. This isn't a message-board exercise. Unemployment is a risk factor because so many murderers were unemployed, and murder is one of the things we have really good numbers for.

The position you're taking - whether you realize it or not - is that you'd rather see innocent people die than submit to any ideological flexibility.
posted by kavasa at 8:07 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now, if he makes a threat, Massachusetts has the power to escalate. If he uses visitation time to attack her or her children, Massachusetts restricts visitation.

Kind of shocked this isn't standard practice everywhere, honestly. I guess that makes me naive?
posted by ODiV at 8:10 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's so objectionable about "I don't trust the American justice system with this kind of power?"

It's really remarkable the credulity with which the state is treated when it does something we like against people we don't like.
posted by downing street memo at 8:12 AM on July 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


What's so objectionable about "I don't trust the American justice system with this kind of power?"

Nothing. But it fails to address the problem at hand, which is people being beaten and murdered by abusive family members. Which is a very large and very destructive problem and something that bothers most people.

If you really think shrugging and saying "oh well" is the best we can do, then why are you even bothering to discuss it?

If you have better ideas, you should share them.
posted by emjaybee at 8:17 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


As someone who had to essentially go into internal exile to protect my children, I wish I'd been better protected. Instead my violent ex got unsupervised visitation. No one called him on his behavior except my parents. I had to hide for years.
This was not great for my now grown kids.
It deprived me of a normal life, and fun. It delayed my having anything resembling a normal life for years.
It probably hastened the deaths of my parents.
Because I had to go into hiding, once the divorce was final, he only paid child support once, in order to get my address. Then they changed laws where I live so I could hide.
I did not dare register to vote for YEARS because that's a public record.
Had he been a citizen, he could have voted.
I had to be out of contact with a younger sibling who're partner did not take my situation seriously.
I really would have loved something that would have called my first husband to account for his behavior, and put him in check. I would have loved some actual justice. Not revenge. Revenge is dreamed of by those who do not receive justice.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


downing, I object to "I don't trust the cj system and therefore we should just let DV victims twist in the breeze until dead."
posted by kavasa at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Spend some time in court watching restraining orders get processed.... it's not a clean, scientific process.

No, it's not a clean, scientific process -- which is why the point of this program is that there's someone looking at all the facts having to do with a domestic violence situation, rather than everybody working away in their own little silo. In the case profiled in the New Yorker, the abuser violated a restraining order to lie in wait for his wife until she got home, attack her, and hold her hostage in front of their kid . . . and he was let out on $500 bail, because the judges doing the hearing weren't aware of the restraining order, her affidavit testifying to decades of abuse, or the fact that previously she'd actually fled the state to go to a domestic violence shelter he wasn't familiar with. Five days later he killed her. The judges could just as easily -- and just as legally -- have raised his bail or just declined to release him, and maybe they would have if they'd seen the whole picture.

We're not talking about the state expanding its powers -- everything suggested here is something Massachusetts already had the right to do. They're just using them with more judgment.

(FYI, the full article can be accessed if you poke around the web a bit in the appropriate places. It's worth reading.)
posted by ostro at 8:30 AM on July 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you really think shrugging and saying "oh well" is the best we can do, then why are you even bothering to discuss it?

If you have better ideas, you should share them.


So I have to pick between a technocratic, managerial-state monstrosity fueled by animus against minorities and the poor, and letting women die at the hands of their abusers?

How about we address the root causes of domestic violence, which are very conveniently identified by the model this program is using!
posted by downing street memo at 8:33 AM on July 16, 2013


Well until those problems are solved how about we do our best to prevent people from harming or killing their partners?
posted by ODiV at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something else that comes up in the article, which I hadn't known and really shocked me, is that women's shelters often require admittees to quit their jobs. There's perfectly good logic behind this -- the abuser would presumably know where the victim worked, and could use that information to track her down and put everyone in the shelter at risk. But Jesus, talk about shifting all the burdens onto the victim. And there's really not much way to change that as long as we center efforts around the victim (keeping her from going to a place where she could be followed) rather than the abuser (keeping him from following her).
posted by ostro at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


How about we address the root causes of domestic violence, which are very conveniently identified by the model this program is using!

Because Conservatives.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:47 AM on July 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


In reality, it's surprisingly hard to stop someone who really wants to murder you, especially if he has easy access to a gun.

Excepting, as usual, the very rich.


Derail aside, this program all looks well and good. what could anyone argue about?

So many people in power do not take domestic violence seriously

True and worth repeating. Full representation by women in elected offices is our best bet, I think.

if the statistics say you are more likely to kill your ex... then it's off to the psychiatric prison for you?

Someone mentioned this, but AND you break the law. It's the sad fact, I think, that there are too many abusers and identifying the high-risk ones and taking action based on that seems to be working.

And, more importantly, those "statistics" are based on the number of times violence had occurred and of what sort. It's not like they are doing DNA scans at 18 and sending the unfits off to work camps ...

It is an interesting approach (i.e. the future will be interdisciplinary) ... wish we had the full article from Snyder ... I'd bet other states are taking note, or should be.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The risk factors listed in the article are: substance abuse, gun ownership, a record of violence, "forced sex" (don't we have a word for that?), threats to kill, choking, chronic unemployment. (Poverty as such, independent of unemployment, is not a risk factor.) Of those seven things, I only see three that are solvable outside the problem itself. And somehow I doubt that substance abuse, gun ownership and chronic employment are the "root causes" of domestic homicide; I'd actually say exactly the opposite, that those factors sound like the final tipping points that allow preexisting domestic violence to turn into homicide.
posted by ostro at 9:00 AM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact that this program exists and is working well heartens me. It's so nice to see "news" that's actually something like good. (That the program kept women from dying and only a few of them had to flee to shelters is good news in this situation.)
posted by immlass at 9:49 AM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


How about we address the root causes of domestic violence, which are very conveniently identified by the model this program is using!

OK, since you obviously have quick, cheap, and efficient solutions to poverty, violence, drug use, and unemployment, why not just snap your fingers and make it so?

Otherwise, the people who will die at the hands of their violent partners during the decades or centuries it will take us to "solve" everything else that is wrong with humanity have two fingers to show you.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


(FYI, the full article can be accessed if you poke around the web a bit in the appropriate places. It's worth reading.)

ostro, do you have a link? I have done some poking around and have pretty good google-fu but can't turn it up outside databases to which I have library access. Other citations/references just link back to the New Yorker for the full article. I do try to give full sources when I can!
posted by Athanassiel at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2013


They may even be put in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for violating probation or restraining orders [...]

Myystk wrote: See that part? The part in bold? That's a crime being committed there.

I think we need to be more precise about what's happening here. If they are subject to probation then it means they already have been sentenced to imprisonment, but this has been conditionally suspended as an act of mercy and forbearance by the court. Someone who breaches the terms of their probation or parole gets locked up, but this is not a further punishment which would need a further trial: it is merely the activation of the primary punishment. Similarly, placement in a psychiatric hospital can only be done for valid medical reasons, typically because someone is "a danger to himself [or herself obviously] or others". You don't place someone there as a punishment for a crime; you place them there because their behavior (which may or may not have been criminal) is evidence of their disorder.

So basically, it doesn't matter whether someone actually committed a crime when "violating probation or restraining orders". You can have restraining orders that are purely civil or which have no criminal penalties. Their breach of these orders is simply grounds for activating a suspended sentence, or medical evidence of a sick mind. Imprisonment in these circumstances is a consequence, not a punishment. This is actually the way things are supposed to work, and it's great that domestic violence is no longer treated so casually.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:41 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


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