Theory - forensicsocialworkwithvictims

Segment # 4
What theories are important for the social work practitioner to recognize or
apply in work with the population or subgroups within this population ?
The state of Florida mandates the use of Duluth model batterer intervention
programs.(BIPS’s: Babcock, Green, & Robie, 2004) . The batterers are often remanded to
special programs with the purpose of diverting them from the prison system.
The underlying theory of this model is that batterers act out of a need to control their
partners, and that changing the need to control others is the most efficient way to
eliminate battering behavior. The Duluth model was created in Duluth, Minnesota
after the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project successfully initiated changes
in responses to domestic violence cases. As a result of these changes there was a large
increase in domestic violence arrest cases. Ellen Pence and Michael Paymar
developed the Power and Control Wheel from this theory which lists coercive and
abusive behaviors ranging from economic abuse to intimidation. The theory is based
upon the premise, “violence is used to control people’s behavior”. The idea is that this
type of behavior is preventable only when men learn to participate in egalitarian
relationships with female partners. PENCE, E., and PAYMAR, M. Education
Groups For Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model. Springer Publishing, New
York: 1993
Michael P Johnson theorized that intimate partner violence could not be
understood as a single trend and developed two distinctly different phenomena. The
first example is patriarchal terrorism which is derived from the premise of men
having the right to control “their” women. This is not limited to violence as a control
mechanism but also economic subordination, threats, isolation, and other control
tactics. His second theory is common couple violence which is characterized as
mutual low-level physical aggression. This dynamic is when a minor conflict
develops into mutual combat which could be initiated by either gender.
Johnson, M. (1995) Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of
violence against women. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 57, 283-284
What do these tell us about the population and the work we seek to
accomplish ?
The Duluth model is an intervention at the macro level which involves the
cooperation of police, jails, prosecutors, women’s shelters, county courts, probation and
mental health agencies. In addition the program allows only individuals that have passed
screenings for drug, psychological problems and disruptive behavior. There are some
batterers that are not receptive to treatment just like there are some individuals that are
not qualified for probation. However based upon the high volume of domestic abuse
cases the criteria for individuals to participate in the treatment program is a better
solution than a mandatory jail sentence for each individual arrested.
What implications do these theories have for practice with this population ?
The implications of these theories are now handled at the micro level by
individuals that are in contact with the victims themselves. For example the role of a
victim advocate would be to assist the victims with their case. Each case should be
addressed individually and assessed in a manner that protects the victim from any future
abuse. The more knowledge and understanding professionals have regarding the
dynamics of domestic violence will certainly result in better decisions for each individual
case. Based upon my own experience within the court system it definitely takes numerous
agencies to navigate a domestic abuse case through the system.