Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Changes Beyond the Criminal Justice System

10/01/1996

As communities expand their response to domestic violence to include new agencies or services, they will undoubtedly confront new challenges and issues. As described below, the sites in this study provide several examples of efforts to create systems change that extends beyond criminal justice agencies and domestic violence service providers. But the responses in the study communities are still largely built around these two systems. Chapter 6 elaborates on issues involved in broader coordination efforts.

Four of the sites in this study (Baltimore, Kansas City, San Diego and San Francisco) provide examples of efforts within the health care system to address domestic violence. However, all of these efforts are relatively new. Although there is overlap between domestic violence and child abuse populations, there was little coordination with child protective services in the study communities. The collaborative effort between the probation department and Children's Services Bureau in San Diego represents the one example of formal and active coordination with child protection. In Baltimore, the House of Ruth and Child Protective Services have signed a "good faith" agreement that does not outline specific protocol but it states their commitment to work together. Mental health and substance abuse providers were part of the coordination in several sites. For example, in San Francisco, a mental health service provider is a member of the Domestic Violence Consortium. In Kansas City, a substance abuse provider and a shelter work closely, although this interaction occurs through the initiative of the individual service providers rather than by a formal agreement between the agencies. Several sites have reached out to members of the business community. The Reservation Business Council is involved in Carlton County's coordination efforts and in San Francisco, the Domestic Violence Consortium established Partners Ending Domestic Abuse (a group of professional women) to raise money for member agencies. Finally, clergy have been targeted by the Range Women's Advocates' training efforts in Northern St. Louis County. Across the sites, there were other examples of ways in which agencies other than criminal justice and domestic violence services participated in the response to domestic violence, however, these efforts typically resulted from informal interactions between individual providers, rather than well-developed or formal efforts.