Will a Domestic Violence Victim Get Justice?
If you are a domestic violence victim in the United States, will you get justice?
It depends where you live.
In a timely article published in, “The Crime Report”, a publication of the Center on Media Crime and Justice at John Jay College, entitled, “Justice for Domestic Victims Depends on Where You Live”, Megan Hadley shares results of an investigation about how domestic violence cases are handled across the U.S.
Good and Bad States and Cities
If you are in Maryland or Akron, Ohio, you will likely have effective and caring counseling and helping services. Law enforcement and other first responders are trained to know what to say and how to ensure you’re listened to. They’ll ensure the necessary services are available to help you navigate through your difficult experience.
If, however, you live in Nevada or Alaska, “The Crime Report” investigation finds you are likely to suffer alone.
The report identified a number of practices common to jurisdiction with effective programs. These include*:
“An orientation towards the individual needs of each survivor, with services such as housing/shelter, food, finances, legal counseling, and therapy”;
“Collaborative services that include advocates, police, judges, and prosecutors who can keep batterers away from victims”;
“Sufficient funding or a sustainable commitment from local authorities to ensure support programs are adequately staffed, and are reinforced by training”.;
Programs Making a Difference
One of the most innovative and effective programs is found in Maryland. Initially developed for police, the 11-question Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) developed by the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV), is increasingly being used by nurses, social workers, court personnel and others who work with domestic violence survivors. The LAP helps identify specific services needed by each survivor.
According to, “The Crime Report” article, 26 Maryland police departments are using the LAP screening tool. The Battered Women’s Justice Program reports this has reduced domestic homicides.
Some other States are also implementing similar programs. Massachusetts developed the The Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement (DA-LE) protocol to identify victims who may be at higher risk for homicide and assault.
New York City developed the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) that - among other provisions - places a victim advocate in each police precinct. There are multiple other services specifically for minorities and immigrants across the City.
In Akron, Ohio, the Battered Women’s Shelter was praised as a model program.
San Diego, California is yet another city addressing domestic violence in an effective way. There are 21 programs listed on the County Sheriff’s Department website.
Unfortunately, not all states and cities are doing enough. According to the report, Nevada and Alaska are ill equipped to help victims.
What You Can Do
Here are my action recommendations:
First, if you are in a domestic violence prone situation, when using your home computer, cellphone, or tablet to search for resources ensure you’re using stealth browser windows to ensure your browsing history isn’t tracked. Better yet, use a library or a friend’s computer.
If you are at risk for domestic violence / intimate partner violence (IPV) or you’re helping someone who is, explore the websites for local police and prosecutors to identify what programs and resources are available.
Search for victim advocate groups in your community. Call them and talk with counselors who can help you identify appropriate community services and resources.
If you are not at risk, but are passionate about helping abuse survivors, volunteer or otherwise become involved with survivor activist groups in your community and state. There is much work to be done politically and as a one-to-one survivor support volunteer.
If you or a loved one is dealing with the emotional pain of abuse, there are easy to apply emotional first aid techniques on the FREA website at https://FREA.support. Explore and try these techniques to reduce stress.
At FREA, we want you to know you are not alone. You’ll find resources listed below with trained, caring people ready to help.
Stephen Carter is a former Chief of Police, Corporate Security Director and safely leader for one of the world's largest financial services companies. He is now the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He is the host of the, "Safe Living Today" and "Mind Over Stress" podcasts.
To download a PDF 2-column copy of this post, click http://bit.ly/2TbP3PH.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org/
Phone: 1-800-799-7233; TTY: 1-800-787-3224.
National Sexual Assault Hotline - RAINN Organization: https://www.rainn.org/get-help. Phone - 1-800-656-4673; live chat, and more. 24X7 help.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: https://www.nrcdv.org/.
Sources Mentioned in This Post:
*Megan Hadley, “Justice for Domestic Violence Victims Depends on Where You Live”; “The Crime Report”; http://bit.ly/2GKLk5J.
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence: https://mnadv.org/
Battered Women’s Justice Program: https://www.bwjp.org/