Building Attention to Witness Intimidation into Your Domestic Violence Policy

Duluth, Minnesota, is known for its power and control conceptualization of the dynamics of battering (the power and control wheel), and also for the Duluth Model—a collaborative structure of domestic violence victim advocates and criminal justice practitioners that began in 1981 with the U.S.’s first domestic abuse intervention project. Since then, Duluth has also committed itself to self-evaluation and problem solving. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota, conducted safety audits of law enforcement and probation responses to violence against women and implemented recommendations for change that improved victim safety and held offenders accountable. In 2011, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women selected Duluth as one of three demonstration sites for creating a Blueprint for Safety, a comprehensive plan integrating knowledge, research, demonstration projects and practice into a “blueprint” for city and county agencies responding to domestic violence. Duluth is now creating one collective policy, encompassing each agency in the justice system, to (a) maximize state control over violent offenders; (b) intervene quickly when there are new acts of violence, intimidation, or coercion; and (c) shift the burden of holding offenders accountable for violence or abuse from victims to the system.