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Domestic Violence Violence Against Women Act

PR: Report: DV Programs May be Shortchanging Women

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Contact: Nasheia Conway


Report: “Domestic Violence Programs May Be Shortchanging Women”

WASHINGTON / December 13, 2017 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is today issuing a report that documents the ineffectiveness and unresponsiveness of the nation’s domestic violence programs, and reveals some of these policies may be harmful to women. SAVE calls upon Congressional lawmakers to assure that qualified persons are selected to draft the upcoming reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Current domestic violence laws were crafted by advocates who ascribe to the “power and control” model of domestic violence. The “patriarchal control” concept is inconsistent with research findings that women are often the initiators of partner violence (1), and cannot explain why rates of violence are higher among lesbian than heterosexual couples (2).

The power and control orientation has led to rigid domestic violence laws that foster mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies, which are seen as unresponsive to the wishes and needs of women.

The report identifies 10 ways in which the nation’s domestic violence laws are shortchanging women:

  1. No proof of effectiveness
  2. Rigid arrest and prosecution policies place victims at risk
  3. Mandatory prosecution ignores women’s wishes
  4. Women lulled into a false sense of security
  5. Aggressive criminal justice measures ensnare women
  6. Heavy caseloads make it harder for victims to get help
  7. Female abusers can’t get needed help
  8. Shelters lack a therapeutic focus
  9. Children removed from homes
  10. Family dissolution

The report is supported by over 50 citations of scientific research studies, government surveys, and expert reports, and is available online (3).


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, Atlanta, Georgia. Tables 4.7 and 4.8.
  2. NISVS, 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, Tables 6 and 7.


SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for practical and effective solutions to domestic violence: