Female victims have specific and unique needs following victimization, or potential victimization, of violent crime. In order to identify these particular needs and address them, it is important to further understand the risk factors that increase the propensity for violence against females. According to Franklin, Franklin, Nobles, and Kercher (2011), women face a higher risk of victimization in certain types of violent crime. This is also evident in the text where it is stated that, in the United States, 3.3 times as many women than men are raped, and almost 6 times as many attempted rapes are made against women than men, instances of domestic violence against women are disproportionately higher than against men (20% vs. 3% of all violence committed by an intimate partner), and women are stalked five times more than men (Buzawa, 2007; O’Sullivan & Fry, 2007; Tjaden, 2007). Franklin et al. describe these risk factors as of female victims as often stated a result of gender and power inequalities within society; however, their research suggests that a lack of self-control in routine activity theory (exposure, guardianship, target attractiveness, and proximity to potential offenders) contributes highly to the likelihood of violent victimization, including property, personal, and sexual crime.
Programs, like the Duluth model, focus on the batterer and promote counseling to preempt further battering, while still protecting the victim throughout the criminal justice system (DAIP, nd; Paymar & Barnes, 2009). However, there is a growing sentiment that the Duluth model, a model of psychoeducation, is a failure as the rate of recidivism is poor at 40%, and arguments are made about the unsound approach in the methodology (Dutton & Corvo, 2006, 2007). Dutton and Corvo (2006) state that the Duluth model “intended to be a progressive force for safety and liberation has become a rationale for narrow-minded social control” (p. 477). They continue:
The Duluth model, however, maintains that unlike the bulk of similar aggressive criminal behaviors (e.g., assault, child abuse, elder abuse), violence perpetrated toward women is influenced in no way by social marginalization or psychosocial deficits, but rather is solely a product of gender privilege. A progressive view makes possible a reduction in crime and violence through ameliorating socioeconomic disadvantage. The Duluth model renders such efforts irrelevant. (p. 477)
Paymar and Barnes (2009), along with Gondolf (2007), attempt to counter the claims made by Dutton and Corvo (2006, 2007), but fail to present new evidence and merely rehash previously stated claims. This is not to say that the Duluth model is unfit or ineffective; it merely addresses the scholarly debate. Since the original debate, there must be a preponderance of evidence to suggest the utility of this and other comparative models, yet no further argument is promoted, or so it seems.
In summary, female victims of violence are often targeted unfairly due to a myriad of conditions or circumstances that are not yet agreed upon, though it is agreed that women suffer violence more than men. This creates certain unique needs of female victims that need to be further researched for additional understanding. These needs should be addressed by coordinated community response programs as they develop. Programs focused on one area that are proven in efficacy should be referenced and used as the framework for the development of coordinated community response programs to be studied in other areas.
Buzawa, E. (2007). Victims of domestic violence. In R. C. Davis, A. J. Lurigio, & S. Herman (Eds.), Victims of crime (3rd ed.; pp. 55-74). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP). (n.d.). Program evaluation activities at Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. Retrieved from DAIP website: http://www.theduluthmodel.org/pdf/ProgramEvaluation.pdf
Dutton, D. G. & Corvo, K. (2006). Transforming a flawed policy: A call to revive psychology and science in domestic violence research and practice. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11(5), 457-483. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2006.01.007
Dutton, D. G. & Corvo, K. (2007). The Duluth model: A data-impervious paradigm and a failed strategy. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(6), 658-667. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.03.002
Franklin, C. A., Franklin, T. W., Nobles, M. R., & Kercher, G. (2011, August). Risk factors associated with women’s victimization. Retrieved from The Crime Victims’ Institute website: http://www.crimevictimsinstitute.org/documents/Risk%20Factors%20Final%20Print.pdf
Gondolf, E. W. (2007). Theoretical and research support for the Duluth model: A reply to Dutton and Corvo. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(6), 644-657. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.03.001
O’Sullivan, C. S. & Fry, D. (2007). Sexual assault victimization across the life span. In R. C. Davis, A. J. Lurigio, & S. Herman (Eds.), Victims of crime (3rd ed.; pp. 35-54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Paymar, M. & Barnes, G. (2009). Countering confusion about the Duluth Model. Retrieved from the DAIP website: http://www.theduluthmodel.org/pdf/CounteringConfusion.pdf
Tjaden, P. (2007). Stalking in America. In R. C. Davis, A. J. Lurigio, & S. Herman (Eds.), Victims of crime (3rd ed.; pp. 75-89). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.