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August 19, 2019 | Policy Guidance, Practice Guidance

Relational and Systemic Accountability for Persons Who Use Violence


Juan Carlos Arean

Publication Date:

August 2019

Accountability for DV offenders is often equated with punishment and criminal justice system involvement. However, there is growing evidence that limiting the conception of accountability to punitive consequences is often ineffective and may be counterproductive, especially when working in communities of color. Holding DV offenders accountable in ways that protect and support their partners and children is essential, including criminal justice system involvement when necessary. In isolation, criminal justice-based responses are not sufficient to eliminate the violence and other forms of coercive control that impact adult and child survivors, nor to effect behavioral change in persons who use violence. Thus, within the Relational and systemic Accountability Framework, accountability is conceived as strategies that protect and support adults and children who have been harmed by domestic violence by reducing or eliminating the abuse and promoting a trajectory of positive change in persons who use violence. Recent research supports this conception of accountability. The framework includes two dimensions of accountability: relational and systemic.