Update on NC Attacks on Pro-Family DV Treatment Programs

Dave Maupin has sent me an update on the current situation in North Carolina, where new domestic violence legislation would deny court referrals to DV treatment programs which don't meet a series of politically-inspired "rules" about treating victims. Dave's non-profit program has been had great success in the past but is now in danger because it provides family intervention programs which help to keep families together, rather than pull them apart. "Read More" below will take you to his message. Anti-male DV programs will only become stronger if we don't act to stop this now!Dave Maupin, from Family Violence Prevention Services writes:

This is where we are as of today. (3/6/2001)

Last Thursday, I received a memo from Joyce Taylor, North Carolina Council for Women, Acting Abuser Program Coordinator, in response to the application we had submitted last December for "approval" as an abuser treatment program. The memo cites ten areas where our application was considered deficient and/or out of compliance by the Oversight Committee of the Abuser Treatment Program. The "temporary rules" issued by the Council for Women last October are the standard by which all programs providing abuser treatment in North Carolina are to be measured. It has been made clear from the outset that final "approval" will be based on strict compliance with the "temporary rules," and that family-centered programs like ours will not be "approved" and will no longer be permitted to receive domestic violence counseling referrals from the courts.

These "rules", a fourteen page document, (a copy of which you can download from the DV Commission website at www.doa.state.nc.us/doa/dvc/dvc.htm) , have been written from a perspective that is different from our own perspective and professional experience. Nearly twenty years ago, we discovered that when there is domestic violence, most women and men want to maintain their relationships together when at all possible. We have developed a family intervention approach that is effective at stopping violence while keeping families intact.

Today, other domestic violence counseling programs in North Carolina are also working with families and see a growing need to provide family-based services in this area. We recognize the need for shelters for women and children in cases of extreme, life-threatening violence. We do not want to take anything away from existing domestic violence programs, but we do want to have the chance to offer families a choice.

So far this year, we have had two meetings in Raleigh with groups of legislators (one which we arranged on January 30, and a second on February 7, which was called for by the legislators) to ask for their help in amending these "temporary rules" or to at least postpone their implementation until they can be modified to reflect the needs of the larger domestic violence population and the services provided by family-centered programs such as ours.

Legislators expressed concern about the restrictive, punitive tone of the "rules" and the fact that established, effective programs like ours, which are supported by the community, might not be approved. One said the "rules" would be somewhat improved if all the 'wills' and 'shalls' were replaced with 'woulds' and 'shoulds.'

As you know, a recent Department of Justice study found that two-thirds of all intimate attacks were simple assaults (pushing, shoving, yelling and name calling), the least serious form of violence studied (Please see copy of AP article attached). Other research supports the modest changes we have suggested (You have a copy of our suggested changes.) These changes would in no way impact those programs that choose to follow another counseling approach. Also attached is a summary of recent correspondence on the subject from three internationally known and highly respected researchers in the field of family violence. The full text of that correspondence was sent to Rep. Theresa Esposito and Rep. Beverly Earle, who were responsible for arranging the February 7 legislators' meeting.

I believe the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a domestic violence victim's advocacy group for women, has been a major influence in the development of these "temporary rules." I can fax you a copy of a document I received in the mail recently that illustrates the mission statement and views that organization seeks to promote.

The population that Family Violence Prevention Services has counseled for the past two decades is very different from the population that the Coalition and the Council for Women describe. Our program does not threaten any other. Our referrals are men and women who are court ordered for misdemeanor offenses that have not resulted in serious physical injury. Our services are often those sought out by both men and women who want to learn ways to communicate and to improve their relationships together.

Our concerns with the "temporary rules" are similar to those of other family-centered professional counseling programs across the state whose directors I have spoken with. We are being told whom we can counsel, how we can counsel, when and where we can counsel, all this by a group with no professional counseling credentials or expertise in this area that provides no funds to the programs they would regulate.

Domestic violence counseling programs should not all have to be the same, because all domestic violence is not the same, either in degree or in kind. We, and other service providers have learned that domestic violence is complicated and that a variety of treatment models are needed.

Public hearings on the "temporary rules" have been scheduled in April at three locations across the state: 4/18 in Greenville; 4/25 in Asheville, and; 4/30 in Greensboro. We plan to speak as do other family-centered programs (I know of three other family-centered programs that were cited for "deficiencies and compliance issues"). If you are interested in attending any of the hearings and perhaps speaking yourself, please let me know and I will give you more specific information.

This is where the action is right now in North Carolina, at least as far as domestic violence prevention and treatment services is concerned. If we don't stop them here, it's going to be just that much harder down the road. The research is on our side. We've got good, effective programs offering needed services to families where there is violence.

This is where we at FVPS draw the line. Will you help us?

Dave Maupin, Founder and Director

Family Violence Prevention Services

Summary of Recent Correspondence On Domestic Violence Treatment Services

To Rep. Beverly Earle and Rep. Theresa Esposito, NC General Assembly

From Terrie Moffitt, Ph.D., Daniel O'Leary, Ph.D., Richard Gelles, Ph.D.

February 28, 2001

Dr. Terrie Moffitt - Although it is imperative that North Carolina ban treatment of couples in felony battery cases, two-thirds
of abuse cases are the common couples abuse type (misdemeanor simple assault). This type can benefit from treatment to prevent
escalation to injurious felony violence, and treatment should be offered to women as well as men. Policy that withholds approval
from service-delivery agencies offering treatment for common couples abuse has the unwanted side effect of discouraging agencies
from developing such treatments and making them available for misdemeanor simple assault cases and to couples seeking help on
their own outside the courts. As a result, state policies prohibiting treatments for common couples abuse will have a net effect
that runs directly counter to violence prevention.

Dr. Daniel O'Leary - To regard all men who engage in physical aggression against their partners as alike simply does not fit the
evidence. With different levels of physical aggression and relatedly different impacts of the physical aggression, it makes
sense to have different treatment services available to men and women who are in relationships characterized by some level of
physical aggression. As has been documented many times, there is no single treatment program which has shown to be uniquely
effective over any others. Having some alternatives available to men in physically abusive relationships is both desirable and
practical, especially if safety of the women and children are given a first priority. We have found no problem with having men
and women receive services in the same building under these circumstances. In fact, since they live together and may have
transportation and baby sitter problems, they often chose to come together to our facility.

Dr. Richard Gelles - There is no scientific evidence that the prevailing models for batterer's intervention (Emerge and Duluth)
are actually effective in reducing violence. Having standards (for abuser treatment programs) implies effectiveness and conveys
a possibly dangerous message to women that their partners are "cured" after going through an approved program. Ruling out
couples therapy is done for ideological not scientific reasons. Couples therapy may well be as effective as other interventions
depending on the level of violence, level of risk, and readiness to change.

Dr. Terrie Moffitt, Dr. Daniel O'Leary, and Dr. Richard Gelles are internationally known and highly respected researchers in the
field of family violence.

Domestic violence down 21% in 1990s, Justice study finds.



The rate at which American women are attacked or threatened by loved ones declined 21 percent in the mid-1990s, Attorney General Janet Reno said yesterday. She called for the renewal of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.

This comes after the Supreme Court struck down Monday a key provision of the law that let rape victims sue their attackers in federal court. Reno called that ''deeply disappointing'' and asked Congress to act quickly to keep the rest of the act's programs and money from expiring in October.

''Violence still devastates too many lives,'' she said at a news conference.

In a report, ''Intimate Partner Violence,'' the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics described a widespread decline in violence between husbands and wives, and boyfriends and girlfriends that mirrors the general decline in serious crimes nationwide since 1992.

The rate at which women were attacked by ''intimate partners'' -- current or former spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends or partners -- declined 21 percent during the mid-1990s and the number of men killed by wives or girlfriends declined 60 percent from 1976 through 1998.

''We've given wives alternatives to feeling like they have to pick up a loaded gun to kill their loaded husbands,'' said Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston. ''Divorce is easier.''

Reno and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., the sponsor of the 1994 legislation, credited the act for the decrease. Under the law, states had to honor protective orders issued by other states; federal money for shelters more than doubled; and new grants were given to train police and prosecutors, set up special units and track incidents.

To qualify for grants, states also had to adopt policies that encourage police to arrest offenders on a domestic call. In many states, police must make an arrest when they go to a domestic dispute or explain in writing why they didn't.

The Supreme Court threw out the provision allowing rape victims to sue their attackers in federal court, saying that Congress wrongly trampled on an area of state authority. The other provisions were not at issue in the decision.

Biden said he could not figure out a way to rewrite the law to allow rape victims to circumvent the ruling. Asked whether there were any changes that could be made to make federal rape-lawsuits legal, he replied: ''Yes, two new justices.''

THE BUREAU REPORT, citing FBI data, showed that the number of intimate-partner homicides dropped since 1976 for every race and gender group except white women. Some details of the report:

In 1998, 1,320 women were killed by intimates, and 510 men. In 1976, women accounted for just over half of the 3,000 men and women killed by intimates.

For black men, intimate killings declined by 74 percent from 1976 through 1998.

For black women, the number of killings was down 45 percent.

For white men, it declined 44 percent.

Between 1976 and 1993, the number of white women killed by intimate partners was fairly stable, but such killings dropped by 23 percent between 1993 and 1997.

Black women were far more likely to report such violence to police than white women -- 67 percent of the time, compared with 50 percent for white women.

Overall, the percentage of women who reported intimate violence to police rose from 48 percent in 1993 to 59 percent in 1998. Among men, 46 percent reported intimate violence to the police, with little difference between races.

Counting deadly and lesser violence and threats of violence, attacks on women by intimate partners declined from 1.1 million in 1993 to 876,340 in 1998.

The rate at which men were attacked by wives or girlfriends remained stable during this period, with 160,000 attacks on men in 1993 and 1998.

Two-thirds of all intimate attacks were simple assaults, the least serious form of violence studied.

Published: May 18, 2000

NOTICE: This story was migrated from the old software that used to run Mensactivism.org. Unfortunately, user comments did not get included in the migration. However, you may view a copy of the original story, with comments, at the following link:


Like0 Dislike0