Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and beyond


Edited by: Melanie F. Shepard & Ellen L. Pence

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • SAGE Series on Violence against Women

    Series Editors

    Claire M. Renzetti

    St. Joseph's University

    Jeffrey L. Edleson

    University of Minnesota

    In this series …

    • I AM NOT YOUR VICTIM: Anatomy of Domestic Violence
      • by Beth Sipe and Evelyn J. Hall
    • WIFE RAPE: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers
      • by Raquel Kennedy Bergen
      • edited by Jeffrey L. Edleson and Zvi C. Eisikovits
    • WOMEN'S ENCOUNTERS WITH VIOLENCE: Australian Experiences
      • edited by Sandy Cook and Judith Bessant
    • WOMAN ABUSE ON CAMPUS: Results From the Canadian National Survey
      • by Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz
      • by Neil Websdale
      • by Jeffrey R. Benedict
    • SAFETY PLANNING WITH BATTERED WOMEN: Complex Lives/Difficult Choices
      • by Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyon, and Diane Monti-Catania
      • edited by R. Emerson Dobash and Russell P. Dobash
    • EMPOWERING SURVIVORS OF ABUSE: Health Care for Battered Women and Their Children
      • edited by Jacquelyn Campbell
      • edited by Ruth A. Brandwein
      • by R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash, Kate Cavanagh, and Ruth Lewis
      • edited by Melanie F. Shepard and Ellen L. Pence
    • SAME-SEX DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Strategies for Change
      • edited by Sandra E. Lundy and Beth Leventhal


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  • Epilogue

    We have heard critiques of and praise for our work at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) from all over the globe—it is sexist or antimale, it is too focused on changing men, it is not feminist, it is too focused on convictions, it does not address lesbian battering, it is Eurocentric, it is an organizer's miracle, it has the best analysis of violence, it is the best program in the country, its groups are the only way to work with offenders. For us, it is none of these things. The DAIP is a 20-year experiment in reshaping the way a community thinks about and reacts to the use of violence and coercion and threats within intimate relationships. It is more about how we develop that response than it is about the response itself.

    In this book, we did not want to ask people to write about the specifics of our dispatch or police policy. We did not want a debate about the pros and cons of a no-drop prosecution policy, nor did we want to describe in detail our sentencing matrix. Those policies will change. We were more interested in the evolving process of trying to use existing institutions and agencies of social control to act on behalf of victims of battering. That has meant that we did not get to start from scratch. We started this work with practices and ways of thinking that have been produced and reproduced over centuries. This is not a social phenomenon created in our community, but it is continually re-created here. The lessons from Duluth are mostly about dialogue, patience, learning from our mistakes, persistence, basing our frame of reference on the experience of those who are battered, losing slogans, and taking up the complexities and not covering up the relationship of the violence to the social realities of a society steeped in class, gender, and race inequities.

    This book is an incomplete description of the DAIP. It says nothing of how we have managed ourselves as an agency. It does not tell the story of going from a hierarchy to a collective; it does not talk about how the visitors from New Zealand took all of our materials, films, forms, and policies and left us with the understanding and practical ability to operate an agency with equal decision making between Native American staff and nonnative staff. It does not adequately address all of the unintended consequences of our reform efforts. It gives a glimpse of the process and ends with an invitation to visit. Remember: It is never hot in Duluth.

    —Ellen Pence


    Figure Appendix. 1. Power and Control Wheel

    About the Editors

    Melanie F. Shepard is Associate Professor and Director of the Department of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She has been involved in evaluation activities at the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) since 1984. She has published articles and chapters on domestic violence topics, as well as other issues related to social work education. She developed an instrument—the Abusive Behavior Inventory—based on the DAIP's Power and Control Wheel. Currently, she is the lead evaluator for the Enhanced Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Shepard has facilitated groups for abusive men using the Duluth curriculum. She also has been a group facilitator for battered women support groups and for women who have been arrested for domestic abuse. In addition to teaching social work students, she has practiced social work in the fields of child welfare and mental health.

    Ellen L. Pence is one of the founders of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) in Duluth, Minnesota. She has been active in institutional change work for battered women since 1975. She has worked on legislative efforts, legal reform projects, and shelter development in Minnesota and has trained practitioners, advocates, and educators throughout North America, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Central America. Dr. Pence is the author of several educational manuals and curricula for classes for battered women, men who batter, and law enforcement trainers. She is also coauthor of Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model, as well as many articles, particularly on the legal response to domestic assault, and she is the producer of several educational videos. Currently, Dr. Pence coordinates the development of coordinated community response projects on U.S. Marine installations. The USMC model is based on the Duluth DAIP model of intervention in domestic assault cases. She also provides keynotes, trainings, and technical assistance to other communities. She has conducted specialized trainings on domestic violence issues for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, legal advocates, social activists, human service providers, health care workers, chemical dependency counselors, educators, judges, probation officers, politicians, religious leaders, and policymakers. She also has conducted on-site consultations with policymakers and community activists on policy development in the area of confronting domestic violence.

    About the Contributors

    Mary Asmus graduated from the University of Minnesota, where she received B.A., summa cum laude, and J.D. degrees. She is chief prosecutor for the Duluth City Attorney's Office, where she has been instrumental in developing the office's policies and procedures for the prosecution of domestic violence cases. She has conducted many police and prosecutor trainings regarding effective investigation and prosecution techniques for domestic abuse cases. She has contributed to Domestic Violence: The Law Enforcer Response, a training manual for police officers. She also has spoken about the criminal justice system's response to domestic violence at numerous conferences across the United States and Canada. In addition, she coauthored “Prosecuting Domestic Abuse Cases in Duluth: Developing Effective Prosecution Strategies From Understanding the Dynamics of Abusive Relationships.”

    Roma Balzer is Coordinator of the Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project (HAIPP) in New Zealand (Aotearoa). She has been an active organizer in the Maori women's domestic violence movement and has been an organizer in the Refuge movement for 20 years. She worked for a local Refuge for 6 years and was on the national executive board of Refuge for 3 years before she became the first national coordinator (Maori) in 1986. She was raised in Rotorua among the Arawa people. Her mother's tribes are Ngai te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui, and her father's tribe is Te Arawa. She is the mother of 3 children.

    Shamita Das Dasgupta is an immigrant from India and currently Assistant Professor with the Psychology Department at Rutgers University-Newark. She is a cofounder of Manavi, the pioneering organization for South Asian women in the United States. She is a community worker, and her research interests lie in the area of violence against women in South Asian contexts. She has authored a book of folklore with her daughter, The Demon Slayers and Other Stories: Bengali Folktales (1995), and has recently edited another, A Patchwork Shawl: Chronicles of South Asian Women in America (1998).

    Dennis R. Falk is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He has taught at the college and university level for 25 years, focusing his recent teaching on social research and human behavior. He has conducted or supervised more than 60 research projects and written two dozen articles and papers and one book on group dynamics, evaluations of human service programs, domestic violence, and educational technology. He is currently participating in the evaluation of the Enhanced Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth.

    Denise Gamache, M.S.W., is an associate director of the Battered Women's Justice Project, a national resource center on the civil and criminal justice system's response to domestic violence. In 1975, she helped establish the Harriet Tubman Women's Shelter in Minneapolis and worked as a women's advocate there for several years. As the community intervention coordinator of the Domestic Abuse Project, she was responsible for initiating and supervising an advocacy project within the county attorney's office, working in collaboration with local women's shelters, the courts, and law enforcement agencies. She then served as the prevention coordinator for the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, trained secondary teachers in the use of domestic violence prevention materials, consulted on the development of a video-based curriculum on dating violence, and coauthored a prevention curriculum for elementary students. Later, she served as a director of WHISPER, Inc., a program fighting the sexual exploitation of women and youth. She has published several papers related to her work in the field. In 1994, she received a Gloria Steinem Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women.

    Nancy Helgeson has been the Domestic Abuse Information Network (DAIN) coordinator for the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) since 1994 and has seen the DAIN through all phases of its development. For 2 years prior to this, she was the DAIP men's program co-coordinator and facilitated education groups for men who batter their partners. She has been involved in the development and production of two DAIP manuals: Power & Control: Education Groups for Men Who Batter and What About the Kids? Community Intervention in Domestic Assault Cases. In addition to her responsibilities at the DAIP, she works part-time with people who are actively chemically dependent.

    Robyn Holder currently works in the Australian Capital Territory as the Victims of Crime Coordinator. She is also Chair of the Domestic Violence Prevention Council and of the Interagency Intervention Program. Previously, she worked in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham's Community Safety Unit, where she was a member of the European Analytical College of Local Authorities on Urban Safety and a visiting tutor on the violence against women course at the Police Staff College in Bramshill. She enjoys the challenge of working across sectors but is challenged more in raising her young son.

    Coral McDonnell is one of the founders of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP). Prior to her work with the DAIP, she was active in developing Duluth's shelter for battered women. During her 18 years at the DAIP, she has been involved with every aspect of program development discussed in this book. She has worked on many of the materials published by the DAIP, particularly a manual on developing a coordinated community response to domestic violence. She also has worked with battered women and facilitated groups for women who have been charged with domestic assault.

    Martha McMahon is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She teaches in the areas of qualitative methods, feminist theory, and ecological feminism. She worked for many years in community-based programs for immigrant women, women on social assistance, and women entering nontraditional occupations in trades and technology in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of Engending Motherhood: Identity and Self-transformation in Women's Lives, which won the 1996 American Sociological Association Sex and Gender Section Book Award.

    Fernando Mederos, Ed.D., has been counseling physically abusive men since 1980. He was at Emerge from 1980 until 1989, when he left to cofound and become director of Common Purpose, a batterer intervention program in Boston that now provides services to 350 to 400 court-mandated clients per week. Presently, he is an independent consultant, trainer, and supervisor for batterer intervention programs. He coordinates part of a project funded by the Center for Disease Control to create a coordinated community response system in Dorchester, Massachusetts; he consults with the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, the state child protection agency; and he is the clinical supervisor for three batterer intervention programs in the Boston area. He also has conducted many trainings nationally and abroad, and he is particularly interested in developing culturally competent intervention models for physically abusive men and in deepening the connections between batterer intervention programs and the communities they serve.

    Kersti Yllö is Professor of Sociology at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in sociology in 1980 from the University of New Hampshire, where she was associated with the Family Violence Research Program. She has published numerous research articles and several books, including Feminist Perspectives on Wife Abuse (with M. Bograd) and License to Rape (with D. Finkelhor). She is very interested in researcher-activist collaboration and has done evaluation research with AWAKE, a battered women's advocacy program at the Boston Children's Hospital, and with the U.S. Marine Corps' coordinated community response to spouse abuse. She also serves on the board of Common Purpose, a batterer intervention program based in Boston.

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