Goals and Strategies of Intervention
last updated February 1, 2006
The success of the intervention depends on whether the processes that are institutionalized centralize victim safety, improve offender accountability, and work to change the climate in the community from tolerance to intolerance of domestic violence. Broadly stated, there are eight different activities of intervention programs that successfully work to achieve these goals:
  • Creating a coherent philosophical approach centralizing victim safety.
  • Developing "best practices" policies and protocols for intervention agencies that are part of an integrated response.
  • Enhancing networking among service providers.
  • Building monitoring and tracking into the system.
  • Ensuring a supportive community infrastructure for battered women.
  • Providing sanctions and rehabilitation opportunities for abusers.
  • Undoing the harm violence [against] women does to children.
  • Evaluating the coordinated community response from the standpoint of victim safety.

From Ellen L. Pence & Melanie F. Shepard, Introduction, in Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons from the Duluth Model 3, 16 (Melanie F. Shepard & Ellen L. Pence eds., 1999).

Specific strategies for achieving these objectives vary, but can include:

  • efforts to ensure safety for victims at the scene (police response, emergency orders for protection, emergency shelter),
  • crisis intervention services (hotlines, legal advocacy, medical care, financial and housing assistance),
  • effective and coordinated justice system response (appropriate and timely police response, appropriate prosecutorial and judicial response, coordination of information between all legal actors, victims advocates, and enforcement of orders for protection),
  • appropriate response to the abuser (consistently holding abusers accountable, arrest, appropriate sanctions),
  • follow-up services for victims (counseling, support groups, services for children, abuser treatment services, exchange of information, assistance with employment, housing, health care and child care),
  • training of personnel in all systems,
  • coordination and monitoring of interventions (courtwatch, data collection and reporting, accountability systems), and
  • active involvement from other sectors of the community (business, religious, media and civic actors).

Prevention efforts can include outreach, education, early intervention services, specialized services for children and youth, and public education and media campaigns.

From American Medical Association, Family Violence: Building a Coordinated Community Response 13-16 (1996).

In building monitoring and evaluation into the system, some communities have developed fatality review teams in order to monitor the interventions of the various systems. Such teams often track cases of domestic violence-related fatalities, review the response of the system in those cases, and develop findings and recommendations for improved responses based on that evaluation. Washington State's Domestic Fatality Review, "Tell the world what happened to me" (December 2002), is an example of one such report. Whatever approach to monitoring is taken, however, it is important that procedures for collecting information ensure that the information obtained is accurate, collected in a consistent manner, secure, confidential, available for recall in a timely fashion, and reportable. From Dennis R. Falk & Nancy Helgeson, Building Monitoring and Tracking Systems, in Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond 89, 94 (Melanie F. Shepard and Ellen L. Pence eds., 1999).

See the 2008 United Nations expert group report entitled "Good practices in legislation on violence against women" Section 5 on prevention of violence against women. For the Russian version of  the recommendations of "Good practices in legislation on violence against women," click here.

A Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence, by Ellen Pence & Martha McMahon, provides an excellent overview of the history, structure and victim-safety focus of the Duluth model of a coordinated community response. Information on DAIP's philosophy and activities is available on its website.