Changing the Domestic Violence Narrative: Aligning Definitions and Standards
Many states use a broad legal definition of domestic violence that includes intimate partner violence along with family violence, and it is from this broader conceptualization that the criminal justice system intervenes and often treats all types of offenders in the same way. This judicial response can include a mandate to attend a Batterer Intervention Program-type group, which does little to address violence that occurs outside of the “traditional” partner violence paradigm. In order to advance interventions for physical partner violence that adequately address both male and female perpetration, as well as the broader conceptualization of domestic violence, we must align definitions and standards among researchers, service providers, advocates, policymakers, and the public health and criminal justice systems. Examples of how this misalignment has stalled progress in offender treatment are discussed and a plan for enabling continued innovation in the field is presented.