Will He Kill? Massachusetts’ Pilot Program for Preventing DV Fatalities

Accountability. Why is it so hard in domestic violence cases?

Our criminal “justice” system knows how to hold criminals accountable for their behavior.  Yet, women and children die every day because judges minimize and underestimate the lethality potential of some domestic violence (DV) perpetrators.  Instead, they place the burden on women and children to mystically, magically keep themselves safe.


Too often, domestic violence victims reach out for help, but
can’t get the aid they need before it’s too late.
– Rikki King, The Everett Herald 

Here in Washington State, nearly every woman murdered by a DV perpetrator had sought help and come away empty.  Domestic violence is in the headlines almost every day.  In almost every case, the murderer is a known DV perpetrator.


The research on pit bull and cobra abusers was published in 1998 in Jacobson and Gottman’s phenomenal book When Men Batter Women.  It isn’t rocket science.  Yet, too many DV advocates have ignored or discounted the research and fail to educate their clients.  The DV system deals fairly effectively with cobra abusers.  But, the DV system fails miserably when the abuser is a pit bull.  The secret is to hold these guys accountable, but it rarely happens until after they murder their victims.


The person who should pay for the abusive relationship should be the perpetrator,
not the victim.
It’s not just the fair and moral way,
but it also seems to be more effective. 
Amanda Marcotte, Slate

This afternoon, the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) shared an article on Facebook about a pilot program started in 2005 in Massachusetts at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center.  Kelly Dunne and her Domestic Violence High Risk Team have kept every one of their clients safe.  How do they do it?  Perpetrators are treated like criminals, and their prey are protected.  Abusive men are held accountable via GPS monitors, restricted visitation, and incarceration in psychiatric hospitals and jails.


Wow!  What a concept, eh?

I will confess that I’ve had to work very hard to keep from becoming snarky and sarcastic in this post.  I am ecstatic that the program in Massachusetts has been funded, that it appears to be highly effective, and that the NNEDV has publicized it.  My hope is that the pit bull/cobra research is woven into it.  And, my wildest dream is that mandatory screening for DV by medical practitioners under ObamaCares morphs into earlier intervention.


Related Posts and Pages:

Pit Bull Abusers [partial archive of posts about pit bull abusers]

Bravo:  “Silenced” by Rikki King, Everett (WA) Daily Herald

Rihanna:  Should You Stay?  Should You Leave?

John Wayne Bobbitt:  Pit Bull

Massachusetts’ Simple Solution for Preventing Domestic Homicide by Amanda Marcotte, Slate

A Raised Hand by Rachel Louise Snyder, The New Yorker, 7/22/13, page 34 [subscription required to read the entire article]

The High Risk Team Model and GPS Offender Monitoring:  Stopping DV in Its Tracks by Diane Rosenfeld, Harvard Law School

4 responses to “Will He Kill? Massachusetts’ Pilot Program for Preventing DV Fatalities

  1. Earl,

    Are you talking about something more sophisticated that Address Confidentiality Programs (ACP)? If so, I totally agree.

    At the same time, I think a lot of people ~ like me ~ wouldn’t have to be in an ACP if more DV perpetrators ~ like powerful judges ~ would be held accountable by the system.

    As always, it is fabulous to hear your feedback. I hope you are doing well.

    Sending hugs and best wishes,
    Anne Caroline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s