Changing the System


Note: There are many pieces that contribute to systemic domestic violence.  The list that follows is incomplete, and will continue to have items added.  If you know of something that should be added to the list, please contact us!

The root cause of systemic domestic violence is Control.  Self-control is necessary to have healthy relationships; and some degree of control is necessary when working with large groups of peoples.  However, control without choice for participants is unhealthy and dangerous.  In domestic situations, the result may be domestic violence.


Contributors to systemic domestic violence:

  • Society’s delivery of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable;
  • Crises caused by lack of money for food, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs;
  • Lack of communication;
  • Lack of appropriate victim support, and coddling the victim (rather than empowering the victim);
  • Lack of restorative practices for the offender (and shaming the offender rather than helping the offender understand the root cause for their need for control over others);
  • Lack of appropriate law enforcement response
  • Broken Court Processes
  • Lack of proper policies which allow offenders to cross-examine their victims; offenders to easilyre-offend; offenders to continue the cycle of abuse.

To end systemic domestic violence, we must work with the pieces that allow the cycle to continue.  We may adjust the pieces by making small changes.  Sharing perceptions, increasing empathy, re-thinking the courts and criminal justice system, and having courageous conversations can end systemic domestic violence.


  • 21st Century Technology information sessions for judges (e.g. how offenders can harass and intimidate victims via social media – tagging, etc).
  • Clear information for victims on the court process
  • Cases consolidated regarding offenders, regardless of who the victim is.  This includes consolidating Law Enforcement Agencies.  The problem exists that suburbs frequently have different systems, and offenders move within the area, are held by different agencies on second, third, fourth, etc. charges
  • Victims’ addresses should not be released to offenders, including process servers.
  • Security assigned to courtrooms should be trained in empowering victims, not being “heroes”; also to not be judging either party, but able to provide a safe environment for all parties.

Sentencing/Offender Support:

  • Restorative Justice / mediation – providing safe space for victims and offenders to understand the power wheel, and practice changing habits
  • Family and friends of offender and victim to participate in education classes of how to support the offenders and victims in breaking the cycle of domestic violence
  • Non-financial sentencing (many families are in crisis due to lack of finances, and fining offenders is one of the reasons victims do not report offenders — for fear of lack of funds to pay bills)
  • Mentors for offenders and victims
  • A place for offenders to “cool off”, specifically when Law Enforcement responds on scene,, there are no arrests made, and law enforcement separates the parties.

Victim Support:

  • Advocates for civil cases
  • Empowering (not enabling) support services – free of charge, transportation available, childcare available
  • Friends and family receive training on PTSD, triggers, and how to empower (not enable) victims and survivors
  • Training on financial education and resources
  • Tattoo removal/cover-up of offender’s name

Legal Assistance:

  • For victims in civil cases, especially for cases involving children, who are frequently used in an attempt to control the victim.

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