Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond
Weisz, Arlene N. PhD, Msw, Violence and Victims
Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons From Duluth and Beyond Melanie F. Shepard, & Ellen L. Pence, (1999) (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Hardcover: $54; Softcover: $24.95; 296 pages.
Throughout the United States and in several other countries, communities are attempting to develop coordinated community responses to domestic violence. However, there are few published research studies about these approaches, and there is very little literature describing how coordinated community approaches function and grow. Shepard and Pence are ideally suited to document the history, growth, and influence of the Duluth model, which has had a strong influence on other coordinated community responses that followed it. Their book primarily addresses practitioners who seek to improve responses to domestic violence in their communities. However, it is also very useful for researchers, who should understand the history, context, and practitioners' perspectives on coordinated community responses to domestic violence.
This book performs an important service in its honest and detailed description of the process of developing and continually reforming Duluth's coordinated community response. Nationally, coordinated community responses are so new that this book is probably the first to discuss the practical and philosophical aspects of implementation. Essential chapters by the editors and other leaders from Duluth's coordinated response are augmented by chapters by leaders of community responses in other parts of the U.S. and the British Commonwealth.
The first part of the book contains chapters on the history and philosophy of Duluth's coordinated community response as well as detailed descriptions of how policies, protocols, and monitoring systems were developed. These chapters are full of information that other communities can use to develop or improve their protocols. There are chapters on program evaluation, advocacy, batterer intervention, and child visitation centers.
The second part of the book addresses important aspects of future adaptations of the Duluth model. It has thoughtful chapters discussing women charged with domestic violence, marital rape, and applications of the Duluth model in New Zealand, Britain, and Australia.
Many communities are now implementing approaches that they call "coordinated community responses." Therefore, it is very important that the authors of this book make a distinction between groups that meet periodically to discuss community responses to domestic violence and those that are truly focused on a coordinated plan. They stress that victim advocates oversee the Duluth model with a continual focus on victim safety, offender accountability, and raising community awareness. The book illustrates how much intensive work is need to truly coordinate the disparate efforts of advocates, police, prosecutors, probation departments, and others.
The book is consistently honest about the lack of easy answers when victim safety is the primary concern. Quotes from advocates enliven portions of the book and remind us that real people are involved in these protocols. This honesty makes the book more useful for practitioners than a book that claims to have all the answers. An all-knowing book might make many communities feel they could never emulate Duluth's success. In truth, few communities will have the dedication and high levels of trust needed for all of the participants to open their procedures to the scrutiny of others. …