Turning the Tables on Domestic Violence Abusers



In many cases of domestic violence – in order to escape violence – the victims are often forced to limit their own freedoms in an effort to protect their lives and the lives of their children.

In Massachusetts, a program has flipped this dynamic by making the abusers make a choice to either stop being abusive, or increasingly have their own freedoms limited.

The Domestic Violence High Risk Team was started in 2005 and since then, of the 106 high risk cases they have dealt with, none have escalated to death. Only 8 of the victims were forced to seek out shelter assistance.  While shelters are a great resource for victims their ability to protect is often dependent on the victim giving up a lot of their freedoms (jobs, contact with family and friends, etc.)

The Domestic Violence High Risk Team Model is based on the research of Dr. Jacquelyn C. Campbell who has “identified both risk and protective factors for intimate partner homicide (IPH) and demonstrated that the escalation of domestic violence to lethal levels follows predictable patterns.”

The Team reviews the details of each reported case of abuse, looks at risk factors and  rates each abuser on a point system for how violent and controlling they are. Those with a high rating are then monitored for risky behavior. If the abuser engages in any misconduct, they can have their child visitations terminated or be made to wear GPS trackers.

Since 2005, abusers who have been sentenced to GPS tracking have not committed any further acts of violence.  Violators may even be put in jail or in a psychiatric hospital for violating probation or restraining orders.

As stated in Slate, “Abusers often victimize for years before taking things to the level of a serious beating or murder. By restricting movements in the early stages, it appears that the program helps keep abusers from getting to that point.”



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Andrea Perri

I came to Campaign Consultation with a strong background in social work and community organizing. I am also a former Peace Corps health volunteer who served in The Gambia working on maternal and child health care projects.In my role as Project Specialist, I assist with project research, content development and other support for the Social Innovation Fund, George Washington University Freshman Day of Service and other projects.Read more.

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