The War Against Domestic Violence edited by Lee Ross (CRC Press) Violence, including intimate partner violence, is a leading cause of death, disability, and hospitalization in the United States and other regions worldwide. Despite growing awareness, the numbers of reported and unreported incidents continue to rise. Drawing on the contributions of criminal justice practitioners and academic theorists who bring sober insight to a highly charged issue, The War Against Domestic Violence, edited by Lee Ross, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Central Florida, offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary study of this phenomenon.
The War Against Domestic Violence is an edited compilation of chapters concerning various aspects of domestic violence and responses of criminal and social justice systems. Included in the volume are topics rarely found in previous texts. These chapters devote considerable attention toward the experiences and perspectives of criminal and social justice practitioners alongside researchers, child welfare workers, and other renowned scholars across disciplines.
Who is at greater risk for intimate partner homicide? What are some differences in the dynamics of domestic violence between heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, and transgendered populations? How do rates of domestic violence compare across racial and ethnic groups? Do certain ethnic groups share similar risk factors for domestic violence? What happens to police officers who victimize and physically abuse their partner? Are public defenders complicit in female victimization? Do prosecutors sacrifice and de-prioritize victim safety in the interest of a conviction? These questions occupy many of the chapters in The War Against Domestic Violence.
In Part I, "Domestic Violence Across and Within Cultures," answers tend to emerge as readers are exposed to a variety of salient issues unique to certain racial/ethnic/cultural groups where they can draw their own conclusions. In the opening chapter, "An Overview of Intimate Partner Violence Among Latinos," Joanne Klevens suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) and the likelihood of injury among Latinos are similar to those among others. Unlike some groups, however, much of the driving force behind IPV among Latinos is related to alcohol-drinking patterns and beliefs that approve of IPV. Strategies to correct and alleviate this problem call for culturally sensitive interventions especially those that include a Spanish language component.
In Chapter 2 readers find that the rate of domestic violence is reportedly higher within the African American community, as Tricia Bent-Goodley focuses on the dynamic interplay between victims and the criminal justice system. In "Domestic Violence in the African American Community: Moving Forward to End Abuse," Bent-Goodley asserts there is still a great deal of resistance, distrust, and fear of reaching out to police for assistance.
In Chapter 3, "Domestic Violence in Asian Cultures," Xu and Anderson report that for various reasons, domestic violence within Asian communities is underreported, which tends to blur understanding of its complexity. Concerns about close family ties and harmony within the community may discourage Asian victims from disclosing. Chapter 4 segues into Indian country as Julie C. Abril discourses about "Domestic Violence Among Native Americans," where tribal councils and restorative justice are themes reinforced throughout the chapter.
Part I concludes with a look at domestic violence across continents as Okereke, Racheotes, and Kahler offer Chapter 5, "Domestic Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa." These authors paint a colorful portrait of domestic violence as distinguished from that found in the United States. Five theoretical perspectives are used to explain domestic violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, including weak state status, patriarchy, bias-cultural, economic austerity, and a society in transition.
Part II offers a unique and rarely seen glance into the correlates, causes, and con-textual manifestations of domestic violence. Chapter 6 begins the odyssey as Winton and Rash contribute the appropriately titled "Physical Child Abuse, Neglect, and Domestic Violence: A Case Studies Approach." Here, case studies are used to portray connections between physical child abuse, child neglect, and domestic violence.
Chapter 7, "The Response of Child Welfare Agencies to Domestic Violence," authored by Shepard and Farrell, suggests that child welfare agencies do not always screen for domestic violence. The authors endorse the Greenbook Project as a model program to promote a collaborative community approach for families experiencing child maltreatment and domestic violence. Beyond issues of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment, Chapter 8, "The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Homelessness," reminds readers of the forgotten victims too often caught up in the collateral damage of violence. Domestic violence is among the leading causes of homelessness for women. What is required, according to Charlene Baker, is the creation of a holistic approach that considers women's simultaneous experiences in order to create a response that supports women as they seek safety and economic stability. Chapter 9, co-authored by Josephine Kahler, Shirley Garick, and Godpower Okereke, is titled "The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence." The literature suggests that both victims and offenders turn to commonly used substances, such as alcohol, cocaine, cannabis, and other opiates, to cope with stressful situations.
The final two chapters in Part II of The War Against Domestic Violence look at two very unique victims of domestic violence. Chapter 10, Christopher Blackwell's contribution, is titled "Domestic Violence in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons: Populations at risk." Alluding to the irony of a general lack of scholarly attention shown to domestic violence within the GLBT population, Blackwell asserts that within the general population, up to 10% of individuals identify their sexual orientation as one other than heterosexual. Rounding out this section is another taboo issue in the domestic violence theatre of operations: spouse violence among police officers. In Chapter 11, "Spouse Violence Among Police Officers: Work-Family Linkages," Leanor Boulin Johnson confronts head-on the unpopular topic of police officers who are domestic violence offenders and female officers who for the most part are victims of domestic violence. Part III of The War Against Domestic Violence constitutes the substance of this work: examining how criminal justice systems. Chapter 12, authored by Cynthia Brown and titled "Domestic Violence Policy: Navigating a Path of Obstacles," takes readers on a historical journey to document and highlight the passage of criminal justice legislation in this area.
In Chapter 13, Robert Magill and Walter Komanski provide an overview of the civil process of obtaining a restraining order in Orange County, Florida. In "Civil Protection Orders Against Domestic Violence: The Fight Against Domestic Violence by Orange County, Florida," readers are given a front-row seat to witness petitioner and respondent concerns with restraining orders. Chapter 14, "Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases: Issues and Concerns," also authored by Komanski and Magill, attempts to characterize the discretionary processes and the many considerations a prosecutor goes through when prosecuting cases involving domestic violence. In a truly adversarial fashion and to even matters out John Elmore, Esq., opens Chapter 15, "Defending Individuals Charged With Domestic Violence," representing the defendant. As the title implies, Elmore provides an overview of the process in store for defense attorneys. Beyond issues of prosecution and defense, sentencing and punishing batterers a.k.a. frequent fliers takes on a whole new dimension. What does it take to rehabilitate assuming that is the goal a domestic violence offender? Chapter 16, "Court-Ordered Treatment Programs: An Evaluation of Batterers Anonymous," authored by Rebecca Bonanno, provides answers to this question. Closely related to this subject is the matter of community supervision as presented in Chapter 17, "Community Supervision of Domestic Violence Offenders: Where We Are and Where We Need to Go." Here Lynette Feder provides a historical overview of developments in this area, including the advent of specialized domestic violence courts. Research findings that contradict institutionalized beliefs are often dismissed and leave established practices in place. Chapter 18, "Restorative Approaches to Domestic Violence: The Cornerposts in Action," adds yet another dimension to issues of punishing and rehabilitating offenders. Debra Heath-Thornton examines the potential of restorative justice as a theoretical framework to reduce violence among intimates.
While a restorative justice approach has many redeeming features, few can argue against the age-old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Chapter 19, written by Sarah Keller and A. J. Otjen, outlines and describes a very effective, practical, and proactive approach to raise awareness of and prevent domestic violence. Their chapter, "Creating and Executing an Applied Interdisciplinary Campaign for Domestic Violence Prevention," is the final entry.
Comprehensive, The War Against Domestic Violence provides rare glimpses of topics inadequately covered in the literature, allowing readers to understand and appreciate the complexity of domestic violence while also promoting a variety of effective strategies to combat its continued rise. The multi-layered approach of the volume and the input from expert contributors of varied backgrounds will likely stimulate the interest of a growing and diverse audience. One of its major strengths lies in its ability to inform and promote a contemporary understanding of phenomena that are not only dynamic and complex, but also equally difficult to remedy. Overall, the variety in this volume helps readers appreciate the overwhelming nature of domestic violence and create strategies to combat its continued rise.
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