Diverting abuse cases before they clog courts

Murphy, Sheila M.; Zorpette, Tracy
January 1992
Human Rights;Winter92, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p20
As caseloads on domestic violence rise and jails become increasingly overcrowded, the search is on for alternate forms of sentencing in the U.S. such as pretrial diversion programs. One form of domestic violence, spouse abuse, occurs every 18 seconds in the U.S. Five million women a year are victims of domestic violence nationwide. While laws have been passed to protect victims and punish abusers, there are substantial problems. For instance, protection orders, which are an imperative safeguard for the victim, are often issued without additional rehabilitative requirements for the abuser. The results are overloading an already crowded court docket. Abusers are returning to the court system over and over again, never receiving help with their violent behavior. Imprisonment is not the answer. Batterers typically need help with characteristics including, little or no concern for the consequences of their behavior, increased control over the victim and recurrent and escalating behavior. Domestic violence counseling can include the study of violence, controlling behavior, anger management, stress management, sex role training, conflict resolution, communication skills, responsibility for behavior, the sociocultural basis of violence and substance abuse. INSET: IR&R urges ratification of U.N. women's convention..


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