CORE PRINCIPLES OF INTERVENTION
A good model of coordinated community response involves a multi-disciplinary team made up of Victim advocates, survivors, medical practitioners, social workers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and other court personnel, and community leaders who work together to find solutions to overcome the problem of crimes of violence against women including sexual assault.
All entities collaborate to ensure that victim safety is a paramount consideration in developing their strategies.
It is critical that the actions of each participant in a coordinated community response be guided by core principles of intervention.
The goal of intervention is to stop the assailant’s violence. The focus of intervention is to protect the victim from further harm.
1. Respond to the needs of victims.
Intervention practices must respond to the articulated needs of victims, whose lives are most impacted by the interveners’ actions. Safe housing and free and confidential advocacy services are essential.
2. Focus on changing the offender and system.
The institution, not the victim, must hold the offender accountable from initial response through restrictions on offender behavior. Focus on changing the offender’s behavior or the system’s response.
3. Recognize differential impacts on different people.
All intervention policy/practice development must recognize how the impact of intervention differs, depending on the economic, cultural, ethnic, immigration, sexual orientation, and other circumstances of the victim and offender. Non-majority-culture community members must review and monitor the practice.
4. Address the context of violence.
Most incidents of violence are part of a larger pattern and history of violence. The need for protection from further harm and the need to create a deterrent for the assailant should determine the intensity of the intervention.
5. Avoid responses that further endanger victims.
Intervention practices should balance the need for standardized institutional responses with the need for individualized responses which recognize potential victim consequences for confronting the offender, validate victim input and support victim autonomy.
6. Link with others.
The intervention response must be built on cooperative relationships with other interveners and on communication linkages and procedures to ensure consistency between the civil/criminal responses.
7. Involve battered women in monitoring changes.
A group of advocates and battered women, outside the system, should continually monitor intervention policies/procedures to evaluate their effectiveness in protecting victims and to identify training needs.
Principles created by the Battered Women’s Justice Project.