American University Law Review
Am. U. L. Rev.
Part I of this Article describes most domestic violence intervention programs (DVIPs) as they currently function with regard to gender violence. It critiques the structure of these programs, their close partnership with criminal legal system actors, perceived deficiencies, and it identifies missed opportunities to provide meaningful intervention strategies with those who have harmed. It demonstrates the ways that laws, regulations, and policies governing DVIPs constrain most programs from moving beyond established practices informed by punitive approaches to address the structural conditions that situate gender violence within a political economic framework.
Part II begins with a brief overview of the research on determinants of criminal behavior as applied to gender violence. It then examines the literature on desistance theory that demonstrates the benefits of social bonds in reducing criminal behavior. It posits that DVIPs can implement desistance theories by reconstituting program structures to promote social bonds for offenders through partnerships with social justice movements. These partnerships may help to address the determinants of transgressive behavior and promote political and social identities committed to social good.
Part III moves the analytical framework discussed in Part II into the realm of praxis. It offers several proposals for restructuring DVIPs to facilitate desistance through social justice partnerships. It advocates for DVIPs to disengage with the criminal legal system and tum to social justice collaborators through approaches informed by restorative and transformat:ive justice principles. Partnerships with social justice movements provide the opportunity for offenders to engage in collaborative efforts with groups that address the causes of gender violence and promise to provide mutual benefits between anti.domestic violence work and other forms of social justice advocacy. Part III argues that DVIP-social justice partnerships promise meaningful legal reforms to the benefit of IPV survivors and offenders and the organizations with which they collaborate. These legal reforms address the programs' structural weaknesses, strengthen resources for survivors and offenders, and resituate DVIPs in the realm of progressive social justice efforts.