To address domestic violence successfully, criminal justice practitioners and advocates should address the needs of the perpetrators as well as the victims, experts said today during a press briefing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“What are we doing about the batterers?” asked Audrey Moore, Executive Assistant District Attorney and Chief Diversity Officer at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. “Many of the people who batter are dealing with trauma.”
Moore said the DA’s office is planning to fund a program that will address the challenges that perpetrators of abuse face—such as a history of abuse. The initiative is one of several innovative approaches discussed at the briefing, which was organized by the Center on Media, Crime and Justice in collaboration with the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
“Batterers are very, very good at isolating their victims,” said Liz Roberts, deputy CEO and chief program officer at Safe Horizon.
Roberts said Safe Horizons staff members assisting high risk victims have to make sure they understand the situation, and what may prevent someone from seeking help, such as fear of losing their home, their job, or custody of their children.
“The decision to leave is often what escalates the danger,” Roberts said.
Other speakers at the briefing, which was moderated by Melissa Jeltsen of the Huffington Post, included Inspector Katherine White of the NYPD, and Amanda Wilson of Maryland Model.
The briefing coincided with a City Hall and the New York City Police Department announcement of policies that will allow domestic violence survivors to take paid leave from work to address their safety needs.