Community Practices of a NOMAS Model DV Offender Program
A program run under the guidelines of the NOMAS Model for DV Offender Programs functions within a community that prioritizes comprehensive services to victims/survivors and holding domestic violence offenders accountable.
The Model believes that our program contributes to the social change efforts necessary to end domestic violence, rather than undermining them.
Most frequently, this is done through the criminal justice system, but may also include other institutions, including those within the civil justice system or the child welfare system. This is accomplished through institutional mandates for program attendance, followed up with sanctions for non-compliance. The community messaging is that this behavior is not acceptable.
Those who provide the program must be willing to provide the same educational information that is offered to the men in the program to the community and institutional leaders.
Court’s and Referring Agents Role in Accountability
It is the role of courts or other referring agents to have a series of graduated sanctions, based on the crime committed, available to hold domestic violence offenders accountable for their acts against their intimate partners.
An order to a domestic violence offender program is one available sanction.
Plea bargains, resulting in reduced charges and minimal penalties, should include an order to a NOMAS Model DVOP.
We believe that an order to a NOMAS Model DVOP creates the greatest likelihood that the person will be presented the information needed to change behavior, if he chooses to.
Not a Diversion
An order to a NOMAS Model program is not appropriate as a diversion from a more serious consequence.
Historical leniency by courts colludes with the unimportance of addressing men’s violence against women. The Court’s seriousness changes the message, thereby changing the community perception of the importance of the issue.
Additional reasons lenient responses are not appropriate include:
An appearance in court is rarely, if ever, for the first incident of abuse.
Victims experience the court’s response as a barometer of support for ending domestic violence.
In Order to Uphold Accountability, Courts Must:
Commit in advance to issue an additional consequence if the referred person does not comply with the court’s order to attend the program.
NOMAS Model programs will only accept referrals from courts who will issue an additional consequence for non-compliance.
Courts that require an additional consequence for non-compliance are fulfilling their role in changing community norms around leniency with domestic violence.
To not issue a consequence for non-compliance makes a mockery of the original order.
This has a negative ripple effect in the community and with the surviving family members.
More Info Coming Soon On…
- Program role in holding offenders accountable
- Program monitoring
- Timely and Accurate Reporting to referring agents
- Minimum length of program
- Consequence for non-compliance
- Connections to the Battered Women’s Movement