Target: Massachusetts State Assembly
Goal: Applaud program to prevent domestic violence
Massachusetts is implementing a domestic violence prevention plan that targets men more likely to kill and prevents them from doing so. The effectiveness of this solution has resulted in no murders since its beginning eight years ago. The state should be congratulated for turning the cycle of domestic abuse from a problem for the victim to a problem for the abuser.
Despite the large number of warning signs in cases of domestic abuse including beating, raping, stalking, and other forms of violence, stopping someone with the intent to kill is difficult. A restraining order can only go so far in protecting someone, and while shelters can be helpful they require great sacrifices for the victim. Women usually must give up their job, social life, and even family, to stop an abuser from finding them.
While deciding whether an abuser is a deadly threat or not is difficult, social workers in Massachusetts have created a risk assessment team that targets men more likely to kill and makes it harder for them to do so. Using statistical methods, they look at each case and take stock of risk factors like stalking, using a point system to rate the abuser. The more violent and controlling the man is, the higher they are rated and the more they are monitored and the more resources the victim receives to remain safe.
If an abuser begins to cause trouble, they face a variety of consequences ranging from being required to wear GPS tracking devices to having child visitation revoked, to being put into jail or psychiatric hospitals. This is based off of an old law that was used to prevent violence involving drugs or gangs, allowing the government to restrain someone even if they have not reached the point to be charged with further crimes. This allows the cycle of abuse, where the woman feels she is controlled and surveyed by the abuser who escalates his violence, to be turned around so it is the abuser who is monitored and who is escalated against.
The success of this program is clear: since the program’s founding in 2005, not one victim of abuse has been murdered. Not only that, but the program has allowed the victims of abuse to live a normal life again; of over one hundred cases within the last report, only eight had to stay in a shelter. Before the program, ninety percent of women in similar situations would have been forced to seek refuge.
By signing the petition below, you will help show your support for the Massachusetts program. If other states implemented this simple concept, countless lives could be saved.
Dear Massachusetts State Assembly,
I am writing to show my support of the domestic violence prevention program being implemented in your state. By targeting the abusers who are more likely to kill, you are simultaneously protecting and liberating the victim. Turning the cycle of abuse into a problem for the abuser and not the victim should be congratulated.
Generally, the victim must sacrifice many aspects of their life to protect themselves from danger, particularly since deciding which cases are deadly is difficult. By implementing a high risk assessment team, abusers can be rated on a point system that allows the government to take preventative action before deadly harm can occur. The fact that not one of the program participants has been murdered since the program was founded in 2005 shows just how effective it really is.
Thank you for taking action to put an end to the problem of domestic abuse. If other states implemented a similar program, countless lives could be saved.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Emilie Nielsen via Wikimedia Commons