October 9, 2007
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>
Domestic Violence Programs Do More Harm Than Good, Report Shows
WASHINGTON, October 9, 2007 –
While people across the U.S. are observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the effectiveness of programs designed to stop partner violence is being called into question. A report compiled by RADAR – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – reveals that most domestic violence programs are ineffective, and some worsen abusive situations.
"Why Have Domestic Violence Programs Failed to Stop Partner Abuse?" analyzes the research on four widely-used strategies to reduce partner abuse: Treatment services for abusers, restraining orders, mandatory arrest, and no-drop prosecution.
While treatment services based on the so-called Duluth model are flatly ineffective, gender-specific services for female abusers are generally unavailable, the report notes.
Restraining orders are generally ineffective in preventing physical violence, according to studies. In one study, researcher Lora Dugan concluded that protection orders may cause "increases in the number of black women killed by their unmarried partners."
Mandatory arrest laws are now on the books in 37 states, but according to a recent Harvard University study, such laws increase subsequent partner homicides by 60%. "Mandatory arrest laws are responsible for an additional 0.8 murders per 100,000 people," concludes Harvard researcher Radha Iyengar.
No-drop prosecution policies, now in effect in two-thirds of jurisdictions around the country, likewise have no proof of their value, according to the report.
"Most domestic violence programs are based on gender ideology, not sound science," according to Elizabeth Crawford, RADAR spokesperson. "And now we see such programs are victimizing the very persons they're supposed to be helping."
Women's groups such as the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Independent Women's Forum have issued previous reports critical of overly-intrusive law enforcement measures promoted by domestic violence laws. New York University vice provost Linda Mills has written, "At worst, the criminal justice system increases violence against women. At best, it has little or no effect."
The study, based on a review of dozens of research studies, is the first comprehensive analysis of our nation's campaign to curb domestic violence. The report can be viewed in its entirety at: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-Why-DV-Programs-Fail-to-Stop-Abuse.pdf.
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org.
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