Stop handing get-out-of-jail-free cards to abusive men

by | Jul 20, 2022 | World

In 1980, American feminist and social activist Ellen Pence founded a new programme aimed at protecting women from domestic violence in Duluth, Minnesota named the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). Based on an inter-agency approach in which police, probation services, courts, social services and women’s advocacy projects work together to try and protect victims from ongoing abuse by rehabilitating perpetrators, it soon became the blueprint for addressing domestic violence across the United States.In a matter of just a few years, similar initiatives, which came to be known as Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes (DVPP),  also emerged and became the leading method of addressing domestic violence in the United Kingdom. Today, most domestic abusers in the UK are being given the option of attending DVPPs rather than being processed through the criminal justice system.
Advocates of these programmes argue that since many perpetrators are not even reported to the police let alone brought to the dock and sentenced, these initiatives help hold more violent men to account for their actions and keep more women safe. Furthermore, they insist that these programmes are not in any way replacements for criminal justice sanctions.
After talking to victims, probation officers and even people running DVPPs, however, I am convinced that more often than not thes …

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