Intimate abuse is no longer viewed only as a private issue, insulated from the community and law enforcement. As this problem, which encompasses both intimate and family violence, has come into public view, the options for addressing it have increased. Intimate abuse crimes now carry significant penalties, including court-ordered treatments or jail.
And yet intimate abuse persists. Often, those arrested and tried for intimate abuse crimes continue to live with their partners and families during the case—and may become violent again. Furthermore, the problem is not limited to men abusing women. Women may also be violent toward their partners or children. And abuse occurs equally in same-sex relationships, all of which can complicate how law enforcement and the public treats this problem.
While the Transition Framework alone cannot end intimate abuse, it can be useful for guiding offenders and others through the changes they experience in treatment, as they become conscious of what triggers the violence, whom it affects, and what they must do to achieve to a violence-free life.
Case Study – NYU Center on Violence & Recovery, Constructing Circles of Peace
In 2004, Judge Mary Helen Maley of the Santa Cruz County court in Nogales, Arizona, was ready to quit after seeing the same families in her court time and again for domestic violence incidents. “I knew there had to be another way, because the current system was failing miserably,” she remembers.
While Judge Maley grew more exasperated, Linda G. Mills, professor of social work, public policy and law, and director of the Center on Violence and Recovery (CVR) at New York University, was rethinking intimate abuse treatments 2,000 miles away. In February 2004, Mills gathered leaders from the restorative justice, child welfare and domestic violence worlds to develop an alternative intervention for families and couples struggling with this problem.
A couple months after Mills and her colleagues had developed a new model treatment for intimate violence, Mills received a phone call from Judge Maley. Could Mills’ model be the alternative approach that Maley sought? How would the predominantly-Latino community respond to this experimental approach? To find out how Nogales put Mills’ theory into practice, click here.
Projects that have used the Transition Framework to Reduce Family and Intimate Abuse
Construyendo Circulos de Paz
NYU Center on Violence and Recovery
New York, NY
Excerpt: Violent Partners, Linda G. Mills (Basic Books, 2008)
Read an excerpt from Linda Mills' new book that explains how the Transition framework helped families and communities struggling with intimate abuse in Nogales, Arizona. Mills is director of NYU's Center on Violence and Recovery.
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A Critical New Pathway Towards Change in Abusive Relationships: The Theory of Transition Framework (Clinical Social Work Journal, 2010)
This article explores the positive impact that the Transition Framework can have on transforming violent intimate relationships. Based on a year's worth of case notes and client evaluations of 65 clients, the article argues that Transitions can help practitioners and families acknowledge and address deep-seated behaviors that lead to violence.
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