Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Monday, November 18, 2013

Transforming Domestic Violence Representation

From Jane Stoever's Abstract:

The dominant theories used in the law to explain domestic violence, namely, the Power and Control Wheel and the Cycle of Violence, provide only limited insight into intimate partner abuse. Both theories focus exclusively on the abusive partner’s wrongful actions, consistent with recent decades’ concentration on criminalization, but fail to educate about the survivor’s needs and efforts to end violence. The Stages of Change Model, conversely, reveals that domestic abuse survivors seek an end to relationship violence through a five-stage cyclical sequence and identities the survivor’s needs and actions at each stage. This critical information should inform the representation of abuse survivors; however, this model remains unknown in the legal profession, and this article is the first scholarship to apply this model to lawyering. This article evaluates the contributions and shortcomings of the dominant models. It examines how the Stages of Change Model fills a significant void and how insights from the Stages of Change Model can transform the representation of abuse survivors.

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