Domestic violence policy, forensic mental health, and the revival of rehabilitation: Crossroads or cross purposes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Current domestic violence policy was shaped both by second wave feminist initiatives formulated in the 1970s and 1980s and by the culturally conservative concerns of the emerging punitive era. The policy framework that has emerged from the intersection of the seemingly incompatible positions of conservative views of crime and progressive feminist views of liberation in fact has come to resemble more conservative social control than progressive feminism. In spite of known empirical links between domestic violence and psychological disorders, this policy framework ignores many of the principles of forensic mental health practice. Growing awareness of the costs and failures of mass incarceration and the overcriminalization of certain behaviors is leading to a reconsideration of the role of mental health problems in crime overall. These trends may foreshadow a return to a more rehabilitative view of crime and corrections, presenting domestic violence policy with an opportunity to move toward a standpoint more scientific, more compassionate, and more effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-328
Number of pages14
JournalPartner Abuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Corrections
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental health
  • Social policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Law

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