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Advocacy for Battered Women: Implications for a Coordinated Community Response (From Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons From Duluth and Beyond, P 115-125, 1999, Melanie F. Shepard and Ellen L. Pence, eds. -- See NCJ-180760)

NCJ Number
Melanie F. Shepard
Date Published
11 pages
This chapter describes the network of community services that battered women need prior to the initiation of community projects that focus on institutional reform, examines the role of domestic violence advocates within a coordinated community response, and discusses the unintended consequences that institutional reforms may have on victim safety.
The essential services that must be in place before or as part of an interagency effort to address domestic violence are emergency housing, confidential victim-directed court advocacy, support and education groups, and financial assistance to enable women to live separate from their abusers. Without these essential services, battered women may experience greater danger when the criminal justice system responds to the offender's violence. The role of advocates in Duluth, Minn., has changed over the past 20 years, particularly since the DAIP emerged in the early 1980's. Two group discussions with seven experienced advocates focused on issues for advocates to consider when developing a community intervention project, as well as unintended consequences of reform efforts. The discussions focused on the changes in advocates' roles over the 20 years, whether the focus on criminal justice reform was the right path to have taken, the potential for criminal justice reform efforts to have negative consequences for battered women, and the relative importance of individual advocacy and institutional advocacy. Note and 5 references