Much of the work around patriarchal and intimate violence in the field of public health has focused both on some form of prevention (individual behavior change, active bystander intervention, gender norms change, etc.) and intervention.
Both prevention and intervention efforts have emphasized community collaborations between community organizations, healthcare, and government agencies, most often including law enforcement.
As a means of preventing or addressing sexual violence, domestic violence, and other forms of patriarchal and intimate violence, the criminal legal system response falls short. A national survey of domestic violence survivors found that of those who had called the police to respond to domestic violence, 50% reported that there was no change to their level of safety and 33% reported that it made them less safe -- and these numbers are not inclusive of the many survivors who choose to never call the police at all. We know that not only is law enforcement and imprisonment not adequately meeting the immediate safety needs of the majority of survivors in crisis, but that interactions with the criminal legal system destabilize families and communities while failing to provide the opportunity for true safety, accountability, or healing. Furthermore, we also know that police and prison staff are, with abandon, perpetrators of sexual violence towards people in their custody and of domestic violence towards their own families.
People in the movement to end child sexual abuse have long been implementing frameworks for addressing abuse outside of the criminal legal system through transformative justice and prevention. The following selected resources contextualize the ways in which the criminal legal system has been ineffective, has created more harm for survivors, or has been the primary perpetrator of patriarchal and intimate violence. Some resources also seek to challenge the dominant narrative that police and prisons inherently have a role to play in the prevention and remediation of violence.
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Last updated May 2021