New book examines gender on legal response to domestic violence

Article here. Excerpt:

'"Gender and Domestic Violence: Contemporary Legal Practice and Intervention Reforms", a new book edited and authored by Brenda Russell, professor of psychology at Penn State Berks, and John Hamel, licensed clinical social worker, practitioner, researcher, and editor-in-chief of the journal Partner Abuse, presents empirical research findings and reform recommendations for prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, policymakers, and intervention providers with the aim of rectifying shortcomings in legal and law enforcement responses to domestic violence.

Domestic violence, otherwise known more recently as intimate partner violence (IPV), is a significant social and public health problem in the United States and worldwide. Early research on domestic violence focused on female victimization, as this was essential to bring recognition to the plight of many women who were exploited and abused by men.
According to Russell and Hamel, the causes and dynamics of domestic violence include an exaggerated focus on males as perpetrators and females as victims. Over time, this has resulted in a heavy-handed law enforcement response that compromises the rights of criminal defendants without necessarily reducing violence. The book confronts the notion that certain beliefs shared among victim advocates, legal actors, and other stakeholders have led to the use of ineffective and potentially harmful one-size-fits-all intervention policies that can jeopardize defendant due process and victim safety.

“There is a shared belief that DV or IPV is bound by gender and is primarily a crime against woman,” said Russell. “Unfortunately, this shared belief has deeply affected legal decision-making and practices.”'

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