There is a social consensus that violence against women is no longer to be tolerated. Government action now is viewed as appropriate to stop violence against women by their family members. In addition, service methods have evolved in light of experiences at battered women's shelters and in community organizations.
The most effective way to build on the legal system improvements is to enhance the cooperation among all helping professionals. Experience thirty years ago showed that counseling or psychotherapy alone did not end the risk of harm to women who live with abusive partners. Civil and criminal justice remedies were insufficient to enable women to marshal their personal and financial resources to achieve safety and independence. All the professionals to whom battered women turned for help had to change their perceptions and responses and work together to provide resources and offer alternatives.
The chapters in this handbook provide state-of-the-art theory, research, and protocols for effective responses to domestic violence by lawyers, lay advocates, social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, primary care physicians, emergency medical personnel, police, probation officers, prosecutors, parole officers, and judges. Using this information, we can continue making progress toward the goal of reducing all forms of violence against women.
Since my admission to the New York Bar in 1971 until I became a New York City Family Court Judge in 1986, I was an attorney in a free, federal