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Responding to Domestic Violence

Responding to Domestic Violence
The Integration of Criminal Justice and Human Services

Fifth Edition
Additional resources:

October 2015 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

A fresh look at the response to domestic violence in the United States today.


This new edition of the bestselling Responding to Domestic Violence explores the response to domestic violence today, not only by the criminal justice system, but also by public and non-profit social service and health care agencies. After providing a brief theoretical overview of the causes of domestic violence and its prevalence in our society, the authors cover such key topics as barriers to intervention, variations in arrest practices, the role of state and federal legislation, and case prosecution. Focusing on both victims and offenders, the book includes unique chapters on models for judicial intervention, domestic violence and health, and children and domestic violence. In addition, this edition provides an in-depth discussion of the concept of coercive control in domestic violence and its importance in understanding victim needs. Finally, this volume includes international perspectives in order to broaden the reader's understanding of alternative responses to the problem of domestic violence.

CHAPTER 1. Introduction
Purpose and Overview  
The Domestic Violence Revolution: Taking Stock  
Is the Domestic Violence Revolution a Success?  
The Challenges Before Us  
Challenges to a Criminal Justice Approach  
The Evolution of this Text  
Organization of this Edition  
PART I. What is Domestic Violence?
CHAPTER 2. Defining the Problem
The Nature and Extent of Domestic Violence  
Controversies of Definitions  
Domestic Violence Offenses  
Who are the Victims  
The Impact of Domestic Violence  
Psychological and Quality of Life Effects on Victims  
Monetary Costs  
Domestic Violence in the Workplace  
The Impact on Children and Adolescents  
The Specialized Problem of Stalking in Relationships  
CHAPTER 3. Matters of History, Faith, and Society
Historic Attitudes on Domestic Violence  
The Continuing Importance of History  
The Religious Basis for Abuse  
The Social Critique Perspective on History and Religion  
CHAPTER 4. Theoretical Explanations for Domestic Violence
The Complexity of Analyzing Intimate partner Abuse  
Individual Focused Theories of Violence  
Who is Most at Risk of Battering?  
Biological and Psychological-Based Theories  
Is Substance Abuse the Linkage Among Sociobiological, Psychological, and Sociological Theories  
Are Certain Families Violent?  
Is Domestic Violence an Intergenerational Problem?  
Sociodemographic Correlates of Violence and Underserved Populations  
Coercive Control  
PART II: The Criminal Justice Response
CHAPTER 5. Selective Screening: Barriers to Intervention
Victim Case Screening  
The Police Response  
Prosecutorial Screening Prior to Adjudication  
Prosecutorial Autonomy  
Case Attrition by Victims: Self-Doubts and the Complexity of Motivation  
A Judicial Annoyance: Handling Battling Families  
The Decision to Access Victim Services  
CHAPTER 6. The Impetus for Change
Political Pressure  
The Role of Research in Promoting Change  
The Evolution of Research Supporting the Primacy of Arrest  
The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment  
The Replication Studies  
Legal Liability as an Agent for Change  
CHAPTER 7. Policing Domestic Violence
How Do Police Decide Whether to Review  
Key Situational and Incident Characteristics  
Victim Specific Variables in the Decision to Arrest  
Offender Specific Variables in the Decision to Arrest  
Variations Within Police Departments  
Community Characteristics  
The Controversy over Mandatory Arrest  
Arrests and Minority Populations: A Special Case?  
The Role of Victim Satisfaction in Reporting Re-Victimization  
The Increase in Dual Arrests  
Is a Uniform Arrest Policy Justified in the Context of Victim Needs?  
The Limitations of Police Arrests in Response to Stalking  
CHAPTER 8. Prosecuting Domestic Violence
The Varied Reasons for Case Attrition  
The Changing Prosecutorial Response  
Victims Charged With Child Endangerment  
The Likelihood of Conviction  
Are there Effective Alternatives to Mandatory Prosecution?  
CHAPTER 9. The Role of Restraining Orders
The Role of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders  
The Process of Obtaining Protective Orders  
The Explosive Growth of Restraining Orders  
The Early Use of Restraining Orders: The Massachusetts Experience  
Potential Advantages of Protective Orders  
Why Protective Orders are Not Always Granted  
The Limitations of Protective Orders  
The Complex Problem of Restraining Order Violation  
Is There a “Best Practice” for Obtaining and Enforcing Restraining Orders?  
CHAPTER 10. The Judicial Response
The Process of Measuring Judicial Change  
The Impact of Judicial Activism: Analysis of a Case Study  
Case Disposition at Trial: Variability in Judicial Sentencing Patterns  
Sentencing Patterns for Domestic Compared With Non–Domestic Violence Offenders  
Domestic Violence Courts: The Focus on Victim Needs and Offender Accountability  
The Variety of Domestic Violence Courts  
Innovations in New York State  
PART III. The Societal Response
CHAPTER 11. Mandated Institutional Change
State Domestic Violence Related Laws  
Statutes and Policies Mandating or Preferring Arrest  
State Antistalking and Cyber Stalking Statutes  
The Federal Legislative Response  
The Affordable Care Act  
Future Legislation  
International Legal Reform and Human Rights  
The Context for a Broader Response to Woman Abuse  
Do Organizational Policies Mediate the Impact of Mandatory and Presumptive Arrest Statutes?  
CHAPTER 12. Community Based and Court Sponsored Diversions
Restorative Justice Approaches  
Domestic Violence Mediation Programs  
Family Group Conferencing and Peacemaking Circles  
Peacemaking Circles  
Batterer Intervention Programs  
CHAPTER 13. Domestic Violence, Health, and the Health System Response
The Role of Health Services  
The Need for and Use of Health Services by Battered Women  
The Markers of Partner Violence in the Health System  
The Sexual Nature of Partner Violence and Abuse  
The Secondary Consequences of Abuse  
Explaining the Secondary Health Problems Associated with Partner Abuse  
Populations at Special Risk  
Defining Woman Battering in the Health Setting  
Measuring Partner Abuse: Prevalence and Incidence  
Medical Neglect  
Reforming the Health System  
The Major Challenges Ahead  
CHAPTER 14. Domestic Violence, Children, and the Institutional Response
Domestic Violence and Children’s Well-Being  
Indirect Effects of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Children  
The Limits of the Research and Future Direction  
The Child Welfare System  
The Family Court Response  
CHAPTER 15. Conclusion: Towards the Prevention of Domestic Violence: Challenges and Opportunities
Our Many Successes  
The Problem of High Risk Offenders  
The Use of Risk Assessment Tools  
What are the Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide (IPH)  
Using Risk Assessments to Target High Risk Offenders  
Are Several Risk Profiles Needed?  
Implementing Risk Reduction Strategies  


Instructors Resource Site
Calling all instructors! It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title! Then, you pick and choose from this list, depending on what each site offers.

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online courses.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
Student Study Site
The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide your interpretation.

I was extremely surprised that it did not cover safety planning. The term wasn't even in the index. Great resource but not for future practitioners. Could be used as a supplement.

Professor Kiva T Harper
Social Work , University Of Texas-Arlington
August 16, 2016
Key features


  • New extensive discussions of coercive control help students understand domestic abuse as more than a “fight”         
  • New international perspectives offer extensive discussion of strengths and weaknesses and identify promising innovative practices and case examples both in the U.S. and abroad
  • Updated research including legislative changes (new VAWA Acts), innovative practices in policing, prosecution, and courts 
  • New thematic boxes in each chapter provide context for the content being presented.
  • New tables and charts summarize data in an easily digestible format
  • Updated discussion on the impact of the Affordable Care Act
  • New coverage on what an average person could do to deal with domestic violence    


  • Both victim and offender's perspectives on domestic violence are explored
  • Coverage of diversity among victims helps readers understand how diversity impacts victim needs, preferences, and attitudes, as well as the effectiveness of interventions
  • Coverage of diversity among batterers explores how diversity affects the efficacy of various intervention strategies
  • End-of-chapter summaries and review questions, "Best Practices" sidebars, victim and offender case studies, and interviews with figures in the field make this the most student-friendly book yet

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 13

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