Coordinated Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Six Communities: Beyond the Justice System. Define roles to involve the victim and ensure victim safety


Criminal justice agencies' primary focus traditionally has been on the perpetrator of domestic violence. It is possible that actions within this focus can increase the risk of harm to the woman. Domestic violence is characterized by an ongoing pattern of abuse and criminal justice agencies can change to include a concern for assuring the victim's safety in addition to addressing the perpetrator's actions in a particular incident. These agencies can play a role in assisting the victims, and increasingly they do so. However, this shift often requires persons working within these agencies to rethink their roles and responsibilities in responding to domestic violence cases, and may be helped along by training on domestic violence issues. Some communities have adopted policies that include attention to the victim as a standard part of their response. For example, it has become standard practice in some jurisdictions for police departments to provide information to the victim about her rights and available resources. In some communities, police and probation also follow up with a victim, giving her a source of support, serving as a resource for her, and, through these actions, improving their ability to carry out their law enforcement roles.