The most common forms of domestic violence involve emotional and psychological abuse and do not always include behavior that results in physical violence. This can resultin a longer lasting impact on the victim with symptomaticrelated anxiety, trauma and depression. A number of innovative criminal justice system approaches have been developed during the past 15 to 20 years in an attempt to reduce the number of incidences of domestic violence in many countries. Many law enforcement agencies now have policies mandating arrest, or stating a preference for arrest, for domestic violence. Prosecutors are also using a wider array of options to handle domestic violence cases such as no-drop policies, evidence-based prosecution, and special district attorneys assigned to domestic violence cases. As part of the adoption of community policing across the country, local law enforcement agencies are also forming partnerships with community organizations to address domestic violence.
All low-income families struggle with limited material resources and related hardships. But families struggling with domestic violence and poverty are likely to have more needs than other families such as, battered women and their children may require protection; men who batter may find themselves facing legal and social service interventions; families will need increased economic resources to survive, and children will require financial stability and emotional comfort. All those who work directly with children and families affected by poverty and domestic violence need to be responsive to these circumstances as well as to the cultural ways in which family members define and most comfortably solve problems. Further, although no single community agency can provide a comprehensive array of the needed responses, collectively, communities can embrace a common vision and work together, across institutional boundaries, to implement this vision as fully as possible. This vision includes the following five elements of a common practice framework.
Young children and their caregivers need to be safe. Domestic violence is a pattern of assault and coercive behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, and economic coercion that an adult uses against an intimate partner. This pattern of serious assault is most typically exercised by men against a female partner and sometimes against their children. These assaults are often repetitive and continuous and may leave women and children feeling dazed and bereft. In the face of abuse and assaults, a battered woman with children often confronts two kinds of difficult decisions. First, how will she protect herself and her children from the physical dangers posed by her partner Second, how will she provide for her children This second set of social and economic risks are central in each battered woman's calculation of her children's safety. If, for example, a woman decides to leave her partner to protect herself and her children, where will she find housing and money to feed her family Who will take care of the children if she must work and her partner is no longer there (Davies, Lyon, & Monti-Catania, 1998) How will she manage the complex, and for many families enduring relationship with the batterer over