Domestic Violence Information Manual
The Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention
Domestic Violence Information Manual
THE DULUTH DOMESTIC ABUSE INTERVENTION PROJECT
Copyright (c) Ellen Pence, Michael Paymar, Springer Publishing
Company, Inc., 1993.
In 1980 in Duluth, Minnesota, http://www.duluth-model.org/
a particularly brutal "domestic" homicide, the Duluth Domestic Abuse
Intervention Project (DAIP) found a relatively receptive community willing to
experiment with new practices to confront the problem of men's
violence toward their partners. Organizers from DAIP debated,
cajoled, and negotiated with law enforcement agencies, the justice system, and
human service providers to go beyond a superficial examination of the flaws in
the system to committing to a comprehensive overhaul of the police, court, and
human service systems' response to these cases. The project argued for practices that would hold offenders accountable and place the onus of intervention on the
community, not on the individual woman being beaten. Ensuring women's
safety would be the community's responsibility. Within a year
policies and procedures were developed and a community experiment began.
With a dramatic increase in arrests
and prosecution, the city of Duluth had to contend with another major problem:
What to do with all of these men? Unless there were aggravating circumstances,
the courts refused to impose jail sentences on first offenders without first
giving them an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves.
We asked a small group of activists
in the battered women's movement to come to Duluth and critique an educational
curriculum that we had developed as a guide for counselors to use in court-mandated groups. Barbara Hart and Susan Schechter from the Women's
Leadership Institute, and Joe Morse and Miguel Gil from EMERGE in Boston spent
several days of intense discussion with us. Our initial draft of a curriculum
seemed to be philosophically adrift. Barbara, Susan, Joe, and Miguel guided us
by asking questions from the standpoint of women who are battered. Why is she
the target of his violence? How does his violence impact the balance of power in their relationship? What did he think could change by hitting her? Why does he
assume he is entitled to have power in the relationship? How does the community
support his use of violence against her? These questions and continued dialogue
helped to shape our analysis of - and ultimately our approach to - working with
The DAIP has worked with thousands
of men over the years. As a monitor of the justice system, we pressure that
system to impose consequences for continued acts of violence. As an organization
committed to social change, we challenge local institutions to think about their
own complicity through their actions or inactions. As an organization that works
directly with offenders, we confront batterers' behavior and question their
beliefs in the most compassionate way we can.
This extract from their book
describes a major component of what has become known as the "Duluth
Model." It explains the methods used in their work with men who batter and
offers group process techniques for facilitators of men's groups. It is our hope
that this book/extract will assist in the understanding of the complex nature of
battering and of the man who batters - his thinking, the intent of his actions,
and the impact of his violent behavior on the woman he batters, on his children,
and ultimately on himself.
We must never forget the danger a woman faces living with a batterer or attempting to leave him. We have no
illusions that most men will stop their violence and give up their power, but we
have an unshakable belief that within us all is the capacity to change.
Education is never neutral. - Paulo Freire
Providing an educational process for
men who batter their partners is not a neutral endeavor. Each facilitator
conducts a group within a community, a program, and a personal philosophical
framework that either supports a man's process of change toward nonviolence or
reinforces his dominance over the woman he batters. Each statement, handout,
assignment, role play, video, or story used in a group is grounded in a theory.
Theory guides and informs practice. The curriculum described in the book is
based on the theory that violence is used to control people's behavior. This
curriculum is designed to be used within a community using its institutions to diminish the power of batterers over their victims and to explore with each
abusive man the intent and source of his violence and the possibilities for
change through seeking a different kind of relationship with women.
Often a fine line separates those of
us who teach the class from those court mandated to attend. We've all been socialized in a culture that values power, a culture in which the thinking that
we challenge in the groups is present in every aspect of our daily lives. Our schools, churches, and places of work are all structured hierarchically. All of
us have engaged in at least some of the tactics batterers use to control their
partners. To challenge the norm requires challenging ourselves. In many ways
using theories that ignore intent and focusing instead on violence as the result
of stress or anger or an inability to express feelings would be easier than what
this curriculum offers. It would be more palatable not only to the men but also
to those of us who teach the classes. But in the end it is less honest because
it fails to acknowledge the real experiences of women who live with men who
In 1984, based on group interviews with women attending educational classes offered by the Duluth battered women's
shelter, we began developing a framework for describing the behavior of men who
physically and emotionally abuse their partners. Many of the women criticized
theories that described battering as cyclical rather than as a constant force in their relationship; that attributed the violence to men's inability to cope with
stress; and that failed to acknowledge fully the intention of batterers to gain
control over their partners' actions, thoughts, and feelings. Challenging the
assumptions about why women stay with men who beat them, more than 200 battered
women in Duluth who participated in 30 educational sessions sponsored by the
shelter designed the Power and Control Wheel,
which depicts the primary abusive behaviors experienced by women living with men
who batter. It illustrates that violence is part of a pattern of behaviors
rather than isolated incidents of abuse or cyclical explosions of pent-up anger,
frustration, or painful feelings.
A batterer's use of physical
assaults or sexual abuse is often infrequent, but it reinforces the power of the
other tactics on the wheel (e.g., emotional abuse, isolation, threats of taking
the children) that are used at random and eventually undermine his partner's
ability to act autonomously.
Although many men experience
themselves as out of control or controlled by emotional outbursts when
battering, their behaviors are not without intent. They may become almost
automatic, but with few exceptions each abusive act can be traced to the intent
of the batterer. For example, a man may use degrading names, calling his partner
a whore or slut before grabbing, shaking, or slapping her. Although he does not
think, "First I'm going to objectify her, then I'm going to hit her,"
objectifying his partner through degrading names allows him to hit the object he
has created rather than his partner. This pattern may be so ingrained in his
history and cultural experience that it seems second nature to him.
The tactics used by batterers
reflect the tactics used by many groups or individuals in positions of power. Each of the tactics depicted on the Power and Control Wheel are typical of
behaviors used by groups of people who dominate others. They are the tactics
employed to sustain racism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and
many other forms of group domination. Men in particular are taught these tactics
in both their families of origin and through their experiences in a culture that
teaches men to dominate.
Batterers, like those who intervene
to help them, have been immersed in a culture that supports relationships of
dominance. This cultural acceptance of dominance is rooted in the assumption
that, based on differences, some people have the legitimate right to master others. Southern whites proclaimed segregation to be God's plan carried out in
the interest of "less developed" Southern blacks. Through their
institutions, European Americans have for the last five centuries dominated
Native American people. When the military failed to completely annihilate them,
the churches and, most recently, social service agencies were called on to assimilate them, as if making indigenous people "European" would
elevate rather than diminish them as a people. "[The] long patriarchal
tradition... was explicitly established in the institutional practices of both
the church and the state and supported by some of the most prominent political,
legal, religious, philosophical, and literary figures in Western society... They
believed that men had the right to dominate and control women and that women
were by their very nature subservient to men. This relationship was deemed
natural, sacred and unproblematic and such beliefs resulted in long periods of
disregard and/or denial of the husband's abuses of his economic, political and
physical power." (Dobash & Dobash, 1980, p.7)
Those in control use societal
institutions to justify, support, and enforce the relationship of dominance and
make extensive efforts to obtain general acceptance of the premises that
hierarchy is natural and that those at the bottom are there because of their own
The consciousness of separateness
prevails. Differences among people are not celebrated and treasured but used as
a reason to dominate. When relationships of dominance become the norm in a
culture, then all individuals within it are socialized to internalize those
values or exist on the fringe of society. Individuals mirror global and national
relationships in their own interpersonal relationships.
Most batterers are informed by
cultural messages justifying dominance and vigorously defend their beliefs as
absolute truths with slogans such as "Someone has to be in charge,"
"You can't have two captains for one ship," "If I don't control
my child/wife/ partner, she will control me," "God made man first,
which means he is supposed to rule woman," or "This is my child, it is
my responsibility to control him."
The consciousness of both men and
women in this society is shaped by their experiences of this system and all of the forces that work within it. Yet not all men batter women even though all men
have been socialized in a society that grants them certain gender privileges.
Not all parents physically punish their children even though all parents in this
country have the legal right to do so. Likewise, not all white people commit
violent acts of racism, yet all whites have been exposed to powerful socializing
experiences that tell them they are superior to people of color. Ultimately we
must each be accountable for the choices we make.
The history of a man who batters is
often a history of childhood abuse; exposure to male role models who have shown
hostile attitudes toward women; exposure to women-hating environments;
alcoholism; racial and class oppression; and the denial of love and nurturing as
a child. Clearly many men who we work with need to find ways to heal from the
sexual and physical abuse they experienced as children. We can't discount their
pain and their scars. Nevertheless, these individual experiences can easily
become both an explanation of why a man batters and an excuse to continue his
violence. To change long-held patterns, men must acknowledge the destructive
nature of their present behaviors and accept the responsibility for their
actions. They are not, however, responsible for creating the many forces
that have shaped their thinking. Although the men are not victims of sexism as
are the women they beat, they are dehumanized by their socialization.
Not all batterers are the same. A
few are mentally ill, some have no apparent remorse for their violence, and
some, if not morally motivated to change, are at least miserable enough to want
their situation to be different. Still others are truly appalled at their own
behavior. The rationalizations of abusers for their behaviors, like those of
other individuals and groups who dominate through force, often result in the
abusers not only portraying but, in some sense, believing themselves to be the
victims of those they beat. This delusion is often reinforced by the practices
of police, judges, social workers, clergy, educators, therapists, reporters, and
other representatives of society's institutions.
Abusers are capable of personal transformation, and many of them will make extensive changes if certain
conditions exist. First, the abuser must be held fully accountable for his use
of violence by a community that establishes and enforces consequences for
continued acts of abuse. Second, he must have an environment that is
non-violent, non-judgemental, and respectful of women and children in which to
start making those changes. And finally, he must be willing to work through a
long process during which he is painfully honest with himself and becomes
accountable to the woman he has harmed.
Throughout this curriculum
we use male pronouns to refer to batterers and female pronouns to refer to those
who are battered. Dealing with gay and lesbian battering is beyond the scope of
the book. We use gender-specific terms not only because the curriculum is for
men who batter, but because battering is not a gender-neutral issue.
In intimate heterosexual
relationships where violence is occurring, the primary aggressors are typically
men, and the victims are women. Every source of data, from police reports to hospital emergency rooms, from counseling centers to divorce courts, points to
an enormous gender disparity in who is initiating the violence, who is more
physically harmed, and who is seeking safety from the violence.
Sometimes I would really push her to hit me or to brush up
against me and then I would really feel justified in hitting her. I'd just
think she hit me first.
Violence in the family is directly
linked to status in the family and to socialization. Men are culturally prepared
for their role of master of the home even though they must often physically
enforce the "right" to exercise this role. They are socialized to be
dominant and women to be subordinate.
This doesn't mean that women never
use violence. A person who is kicked or punched or spit on or cursed or dragged
from room to room or thrown down on the floor usually responds with some kind of
physical defense. Women often kick, scratch, and bite the men who beat them, but that does not constitute mutual battering.
Mutual battering occurs when both
parties engage in a series of abusive and controlling behaviors, coupled with
the threat or use of violence to control what the other partner thinks, does, or feels.
Women's violence toward their male
partners that is neither in self-defense nor in response to being battered is
rare but can still be very dangerous. During the past 10 years the DAIP has
worked with just under 100 women who have physically assaulted their partners
(this represents 3.5 % of offenders mandated to DAIP). In seven of these cases,
the men were unable to leave the situation without increasing their partner's
violence. These seven men, like the thousands of women who have sought safety at
the shelter, were being pursued and terrorized by their partners. They, like
many battered women, needed legal protection, safe housing, and tremendous
What separated those seven men from
the 90 other male assault victims was their fear and their inability to leave
without their abusers escalating the violence and threats. Most men who live
with women who are violent are abusing the women who have assaulted them and can
end the violence against them by stopping their own violence or leaving the
The factors differentiating the
enormous social problem of men's violence against women from the violence of women against men are the number of cases and the severity and pattern of the
violence used against the victims. The civil protection order and the criminal
court process are effective tools for protecting almost all male victims because
women rarely engage in "separation violence," the violence that occurs
and escalates as victims attempt to leave their abusers. A report issued by the
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women on January 28, 1991, documented the
murders of 27 Minnesota women who were killed in 1990 by their male partners;
half of them were trying to leave their relationships. None of the public
documents indicates that any of the men killed by their partners during the same
year were attempting to leave the relationship.
The use of the tactics on
the Power and Control Wheel result in men's domination of women physically,
sexually, emotionally, and spiritually. When a woman is repeatedly battered, she
experiences severe physical, psychological, and spiritual trauma. When she
manifests the effects of these attacks or fights back she is labeled by the
batterer, and by the system that colludes with him, as defective. She is
described by him as a provocative bitch, a whore, a junkie, a bad mother, a
violent drunk, a liar, a manhater, a thief, and a woman out to get him. She is
labeled by the community as an enabler, a reluctant witness, a co-dependent
partner, a woman caught in a honeymoon phase, a non-assertive woman suffering
from learned helplessness, a mother with poor parenting skills, a drug or
alcohol abuser, a violent person, and a self-destructive woman. Like any person
or group at the bottom of an abusive hierarchical order, she is thought to be
there because something is wrong with her. He defines her this way, and the
system backs him up.
She is studied in her
post-victimized state and is judged to be lacking. She is compared with
"non-battered" women in study after study, and the difference between
the two is defined as the cause of her problem. The question of why this woman
is the one who gets hit is answered by theories of academics and professionals
that sound suspiciously like the claims of her batterer. She lacks certain
skills and attitudes, and her behavior is not quite right. He is reinforced; she
is re-victimized. He becomes a more co-operative client; she becomes more
Battered women, like non-battered
women, come from all backgrounds and act in many different ways. Some battered
women are incredibly kind and loving; others are not. Some never touch alcohol;
some are heavy drinkers. Some are monogamous; others are not. But rarely can a
person get involved in this issue and stay clear about how irrelevant all of that is. Our system and those of us who are its agents search for an answer to
the question: Is she an innocent victim, or did she somehow play a part in her
victimization? How we answer that question dictates how we respond to him as a
perpetrator and to her as a victim. The Duluth model of interagency intervention
and the groups for men are structured to keep all of us - the men, the group
leaders, and those in the court system - from engaging in victim-blaming
The 26-week curriculum
described in the book is designed to help men change from using the behaviors on
the Power and Control Wheel, which result in authoritarian and destructive
relationships, to using the behaviors on the Equality
Wheel, which form the basis for egalitarian relationships.
Although men in groups may stop
using violence, eliminating other behaviors on the Power and Control Wheel is a
much longer process. If a batterer does not have a personal commitment to give
up his position of power, he will eventually return to the use of threats or
violence to gain control. Long-term change and a true commitment to egalitarian
relationships necessitates a long, honest look at deeply held beliefs, a resolve
to handle conflict differently, and an honest examination of why he wants a
woman in his life. His change process requires practicing the things we can
teach him with the hope that those alternative behaviors become his new norm.
Every aspect of the Duluth intervention process and the curriculum is designed
to challenge a lifelong pattern of thinking, rationalizing, and acting that
leads to violence and other forms of abuse.
DOBASH, R.E. & DOBASH, R.P. Violence Against Wives:
A Case Against the Patriarchy. Open Books, London: 1980.
PENCE, E., and PAYMAR, M. Education Groups For Men Who
Batter: The Duluth Model. Springer Publishing, New York: 1993.
For copies of this book, please write:
Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project,
206 West Fourth Street, Duluth, Minnesota 55806,
United States of America
or telephone: 1 218 722 2781
W.I.S.E. - Women's Issues and Social
The Duluth Model
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) in Duluth, Minnesota, is a
comprehensive, community-based program for intervention in domestic abuse cases. It attempts to coordinate the response of the many agencies and practitioners
who respond to domestic violence cases in our community. The project involves
community organizing and advocacy that examines training programs, policies,
procedures and texts, intake forms, report formats, assessments, evaluations,
checklists and other materials. We ask how each practice, procedure, form or
brochure either enhance or compromise victim safety.
When a woman being beaten by her husband calls 911, she dials into a complex
community system, which often resolves cases based on institutional imperatives
rather than on making victim safety central. This reflects an historical
tolerance for domestic violence, rather than the attitudes of individual
practitioners. Negotiating common understandings among agencies lessens the
negative impact of fragmented philosophies and responses on the victims of
domestic violence. These understandings make central the victim's experience of
violence and coercion and the ongoing threats to her safety.
The shared framework for community intervention is guided by practical
questions: Who is doing harm to whom? How dangerous is this situation? Who needs
protection? Community agencies include the communications center (9-1-1), police department, jail, prosecutor's office, sheriff's department, probation department, women's shelter, public health department, district bench, and
several mental health agencies. With each agency, the goal is to make links
between what individual practitioners do in a case and the overall effect of
An additional component of the DAIP is the nonviolence program which consists
of classes for offenders who are court-ordered to our program. We use the
curriculum Power and Control: Tactics of Men Who Batter, a 24-week educational
curriculum. (The curriculum materials are further described in the National
Training Project catalog.) We contact partners of the men and offer
advocacy, community resources, and a women's group. We use a curriculum, In Our
Best Interest: A Process for Personal and Social Change for this battered
women's group. Women who have been arrested for using violence are also ordered
to attend nonviolence classes. Classes are provided for women and we are
currently in the process of documenting the curriculum which is further
described at our page Women Who Use Violence. Watch for news when this
curriculum is ready for distribution.
In 1981, nine city, county, and private agencies in Duluth, Minnesota adopted
policies and procedures which coordinated their intervention in domestic assault
cases. These measures focus on protecting victims from continued acts of
violence by combining legal sanctions, nonviolence classes, and when necessary,
incarceration to end the violence. Consistently applied, their message to offenders is clear: Your use of violence is unacceptable.
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Project is the coordinating agency for this
effort. Domestic violence programs throughout the nation have relied on our
experiences as they have addressed domestic violence in their own communities.
During the past fifteen years, the National Training Project of the Domestic
Abuse Intervention Project has provided over 1,000 trainings and seminars in the
U.S. and more than ten other countries. We have also produced many manuals,
videotapes, and other curriculum materials. Profits from the National Training
Project are dedicated to supporting the Duluth programs and to providing ongoing
training and technical assistance to other organizations working to end
In 1988 the Harvard University School of Government and the Ford Foundation
presented the City of Duluth and the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project with
the prestigious Innovations in State and Local Government Award. In 1996, Dr. Lonnie Bristow, president of the American Medical Association, presented the
association's President's Award of Excellence to the Domestic Abuse Intervention
Project. "What they're (DAIP) doing is what we're trying to advocate for
the rest of the country -- a combined approach using medical, judicial, and
social systems," Bristow said.
We welcome the opportunity to work with our counterparts in other
It is vital that policies and procedures for intervention in domestic assault
cases be founded on a sound theoretical basis which protects battered women,
helps judicial system practitioners discharge their public duties, and renounces
the practice of victim blaming. The following principles guide the policies and
procedures of the DAIP.
The first priority of intervention should be to carry out policies and
protocols which protect the victim from further harm and whenever possible,
the burden of holding abusers accountable should rest with the community,
not the victim.
To make fundamental changes in a community's response to violence against
women, individual practitioners must work cooperatively, guided by training,
job descriptions, and standardized practices that are all oriented toward
the desired changes.
Intervention must be responsive to the totality of harm done by the
violence rather than be incident or punishment focused.
Intervention practices must be accountable to the victim, whose life is
most impacted by our individual and collective actions.
Victims must have access to safe emergency housing, information and
advocacy necessary to act in the courts, and should not be denied protection
because of the cost of professional assistance.
Except in the case of self-defense, violence is a criminal offense and the
police and court are used to prevent further assaults. The intensity of
intervention is based on the need for protection from further harm and on
creating a deterrence to the abuser.
The primary focus of intervention is on stopping the assailant's use of
violence, not on fixing or ending the relationship.
In general, the court avoids prescribing a course of action for the
victim, e.g., does not force a victim to testify by threatening jail, nor
mandate treatment for the victim.
The courts and law enforcement agencies work cooperatively with victim
advocacy programs and provide the advocacy/shelter program and victim with
the broadest possible access to legal information.
When appropriate, the courts mandate educational classes for assailants
and impose increasingly harsh penalties for any continued acts of harassment
All policies and procedural guidelines benefit from review by members of
the communities not represented by majority culture (e.g., communities of
color, the gay/lesbian/bisexual community, people who are low income). Their
review should include a close look at monitoring procedures to safeguard
against the use of race, class, or lifestyle biases in implementing
Policies and procedures should act as a general deterrent to battering in
All practices and policies should be continually evaluated for
effectiveness in protecting victims and to plan ongoing training for agencies.
All interventions must account for the power imbalance between the
assailant and the victim. Adherence to these principles helps to produce
consistent results regardless of the beliefs or values of an individual
Education Groups for Men Who Batter : The Duluth Model
By: Pence, Ellen/ Paymar, Michael/ Ritmeester, Tineke/ Shepard, Melanie
Publisher: Springer Pub Co
OUR PRICE for delivery to:
Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention
History of the National Training Project
In the 1970's, when the first shelters for battered women opened, the response of law enforcement, courts and human service
practitioners to domestic assault cases was dismally inadequate. Since that time policy makers in almost every profession involved in
these cases have reassessed their appropriate intervention roles in cases of battering.
Since 1974 hundreds of federal, state and city commissions and task forces have studied the problem and made recommendations for
With few exceptions, these public commissions document brutal beatings, psychological terrorism and murders that could have been
prevented by altering not the perpetrator's character or the response of the victim to the perpetrator, but the reaction of the public
agencies to the violence, to the perpetrator and to the victim. Public commissions consistently point to five areas to improve the
system's response to assault cases.
1.A shift in the orientation of the system's response of placing the major responsibility of stopping the violence on the shoulders of
the victim, to recognizing the role that community agencies must play in directly confronting the perpetrator.
2.A need to be consistent in how practitioners in a given discipline respond, and the need to exchange the information and
observations of the many people involved in a case for practitioners to make informed decisions.
3.A need to enhance practitioners' technical skills in working with assailants, victims and children.
4.A need to increase the understanding of human service and court agents of the complex set of economic, physical and
psychological conditions that exist in relationships where there is violence.
5.A need to insure basic protective resources for victims of violence.
The Duluth Experience
The City of Duluth has received international recognition for its pioneering efforts to alter public policy to protect victims of domestic
abuse and offer rehabilitation opportunities for offenders.
In 1981, nine city, county and private agencies organized under the umbrella of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (DAIP) to adopt policies and procedures coordinating their intervention in domestic assault cases. These policies focused on protecting victims
from continued acts of violence by combining support services for victims with legal sanctions, rehabilitation program and, when
necessary, incarceration of an assailant. The Duluth project has been widely recognized as a model in confronting domestic assault.
The National Training Project
In the past twelve years, the Domestic Abuse Intervention project has responded to thousands of requests asking for information, for
guidance or, sometimes, simply for encouragement. The project has offered seminars, trainings and workshops in seven countries and
has trained staff of domestic violence and community agencies in all fifty states. In 1989 the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project decided to form the National Training Project using both trainers who work directly with the Duluth Model and practitioners
implementing similar projects in larger communities such as San Diego, Boston, Milwaukee and Nashville.
While our experience over the years had led to the development of exercises, handouts, overheads, lectures and training videos, no two seminars, conferences or trainings have been the same. The social, economic and political realities of each community we travel to
or of those who have attended our week-long institutes in Duluth have shaped the design and content of every training we have
The National Training Project offers a number of general and specialized trainings. The general trainings focus on providing a
philosophical orientation for practitioners and defines the roles of each agency in dealing with both the victim and the assailant. The
specialized trainings offer an overview of the interagency approach, but focus on enhancing the individual practitioner's skills and
philosophical orientation in carrying out specific intervention functions.
Many communities ask us to provide a one-day interagency training followed by specialized trainings. A training coordinator can assist
you in determining which of the trainings or combination of trainings best fits your community needs. Our brochure gives a general
description of each of the trainings. To order our training and publications brochure, contact:
Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
National Training Project
206 West Fourth Street
Ph: (218) 722-2781
Fx: (218) 722-0779