Domestic violence is complex. There are various dynamics and factors that must be understood to be able to fully comprehend the gravity of this violent crime and how it impacts the lives of victims and survivors. This session provides a comprehensive discussion of some of the most important concepts related to domestic violence to help those interested to more holistically understand what transpires in a domestic abuse situation.
This course’s instructor is Lindsay M. Gephardt. Lindsay is a Deputy County Attorney with Maricopa County Attorney’s Office currently assigned to the Family Violence Bureau. Prior to this role, she’s been a prosecutor and has practiced in multiple jurisdictions for misdemeanors and felonies particularly family violence and sex crimes.
Specifics of her discussion include:
- What domestic violence is, the power and control dynamic at its core, its scope, and its tragic consequences.
- Facts and figures that demonstrate the prevalence and frequency of domestic violence incidents within the United States and how DV can easily escalate into homicide.
- The history of domestic violence and the legal system which can be traced back to ancient history and how these antiquated beliefs that perpetuated abuse of women and children lingered up to the 17th century.
- The changes that started in the 19th century acknowledging the rights of women which paved the way for more protection against domestic violence and recognized it as a societal issue that requires a multidisciplinary approach.
- Examples of highly publicized cases showing how DV plays out in relationships and impacts the victims.
- Getting to know the specific groups that experience DV victimization more prevalently and studies and statistics that illustrate how these communities are disproportionately impacted.
- The profile of abusers and the common traits that they tend to possess.
- The cycle of violence, its stages depicting the dynamic between the abuser and the victim, the varying levels of violence in each cycle, and how many times the cycle repeats before a victim seeks help.
- The different forms of abuse that occur in a domestic violence setting that ultimately serves the abuser’s goal to assert power and control over the victim.
- The different power and control wheel models developed to explain the dynamic in DV relationships across different settings, gender and sexual orientation, and culture.
- The equality wheel which helps victims realize the abuse they’re experiencing and assist abusers to recognize their motivations, shift their attitudes, and help them have healthier relationships.
- How DV impacts victims mentally, psychologically, emotionally, physically, and financially, as well as the perpetuation of the cycle of violence into the next generation when children are exposed to abuse.
- The spectrum of responses victims tend to have in relation to the abuse they experience which influences their personal outcomes and the prosecution of the cases.
- The various reasons and barriers hindering victims from escaping abusive relationships.
- Guidelines to advocate for victims and tools to help them safely leave their abusers.
- Homicide prevention considerations vis-à-vis strangulations and access to firearms in DV settings.
- The rate at which strangulation can escalate into homicide, how little time is required for it to turn lethal, and what those within the criminal justice profession can do to deter this.
- The increased risk of homicide when a DV abuser has access to firearms, legal loopholes allowing DV offenders to still gain access to firearms, and ways that the justice system may address this.
- The value of a collaborative effort across the different agencies involved to provide the support and assistance victims need and to effectively prevent and prosecute domestic violence offenses.
- How the legislative and justice system is expanding and evolving to better serve victims and cater to specific segments of the community that is disproportionately impacted by domestic violence.
Points raised during the Q&A are about:
- Applying power and control in elder abuse situations.
- Instances where both people in the relationship are both abusive or violent.
- How those in the probation setting can support victims post-adjudication.
- The specific characteristics that abusers are looking for in their victims.
Resources and Handouts
- Article Link: Safety Planning Worksheet and Printable Document
- Article Link and Download: Power and Control Wheel Downloadable Handout and additional information
- Article Download: Post Separation Power and Control Wheel
- Domestic Violence.org
- Webinar Referenced: Michelle Welch Webinar – The link between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse
- Webinar Referenced: Phil Arkow: Improving Public Safety by Stopping Animal Cruelty: The Link Between Animal and Human Violence or you can learn more at the National Link Coalition.
- Organization Referenced: The Duluth Model
- Book: No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know about Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder
- “I like all the information provided. Great presenter.” — Ana
- “The power dynamic wheel was fantastic. The presenter was on point… thank you.”– Catherine
- “There was a lot of great information in the webinar!! The speaker was very easy to understand as well!! Thank you!!” — Jennifer
- “The stats were astounding, and it was interesting to learn about reproductive/sexual elements in abuse.” — Elizabeth
- “A lot of information in a short amount of time! Important topic!” — Michael
- “The presentation was detailed and very informative.” — Sarah
- “I particularly enjoyed learning about the history of DV.” — Alyse
- “I absolutely found this to be beneficial in so many ways as a pre-sentence investigator who writes for the court- the historical perspective, current assault cycles, information about why do they stay, and risk assessments are just fab and useful!” — Cris
- “I just liked all the information in general. It was very easy to follow along and put a lot of things in perspective. The facilitator seemed very knowledgeable about this topic.” — Blanca
- “Definitely the most comprehensive discussion on DV dynamics and concepts.” — Nea