Expanding Solutions for Domestic Violence and Poverty: What Battered Women with Abused Children Need from Their Advocates

"This paper uses examples from the child welfare system to raise questions about the limitations of current DV advocacy strategies for low-income women. The paper challenges the U.S. traditional battered women's movement to expand its solutions."

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VAWnet Summary:

Expanding Solutions for Domestic Violence and Poverty: What Battered Women with Abused Children Need from Their Advocates uses examples from the child welfare system to raise questions about the limitations of current domestic violence advocacy strategies for low-income women. The paper challenges the US traditional battered women's movement to expand its solutions beyond shelter, criminal justice interventions, and support groups to embrace economic advocacy and collaborate to build new forms of outreach and services to men and women in low-income communities.

It asks a series of questions illustrating some of the complexities of the lives of low-income women surviving abuse. In response to these complexities, Schechter suggests five starting points to frame future policy around including having:

  • a public policy agenda on domestic violence and poverty that articulates that battered women (whether they stay or leave their abusive relationships) should have access to economic supports, housing, jobs, etc.
  • expanded access to services (type and amount) within low-income communities. Also, development of prevention and early intervention agendas
  • interventions that address the diversity of women's needs and experiences of violence
  • men and boys as allies
  • interventions with men who batterer that do not rely solely on being initiated by arrest.

This vision paper is number 13 in the NRC's Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence (BCSDV) initiative series. This paper was originally delivered by Susan Schechter as a talk at the Violence Institute of New Jersey on June 21, 2000.

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