Underlying Principles of a NOMAS Model for DV Offender Program
The underlying principles of a NOMAS Model program are grounded in the feminist analysis that includes the premise that domestic violence is an extension of sexism. We recognize that domestic violence is carried out by individual men*, and reflects their individual values and beliefs. However, we also recognize that these values and beliefs are taught and supported by the cultural values and norms of our society’s existing patriarchal structure.
The principles work with the assumption that we must collaboratively challenge and change these values and norms.
*And those of other dominating group identities
Commitment to community, societal, systemic, and cultural change
The NOMAS Model for DV Offender Programs is committed to community, societal, systemic, and cultural change. We believe that domestic violence stems from social and cultural attitudes and beliefs, and that these attitudes and beliefs impact women and children more profoundly because of the power imbalances between men and women that exist in our society. We believe that individual people can change. Individual change however, will only be effective when it is supported and enhanced by widespread social change. The implementation of the NOMAS Model DV OP in a community is intended to be consistent with these goals.
The NOMAS Model for DVOP was built within the context of the predominant criminal justice response to domestic violence. The program uses this entrée point and seeks social change, through the radical concept that holding dv offenders accountable is counter to the pre-existing permissions for men to hold control over women in our society.
Connection to NOMAS and anti-oppression principles
NOMAS recognized early on that all oppressions (the “isms”) are linked. Fighting against a
single oppression (e.g., sexism) without recognizing that it is intertwined with all other
oppressions (e.g., racism, classism, heterosexism) will not move us toward the creation of a just
society. In furthering this end, NOMAS is committed to actively and continually examine and challenge any and all oppressive beliefs and behaviors in ourselves, our organization, our communities and the systems that govern our lives. This commitment should be part of all NOMAS Model Domestic Violence Offender Programs–from instructor training to executive management to relationships with referring agencies and the community.
Definition of DV
What is Domestic Violence?
Deeply rooted in history, laws and cultures is a patriarchal system, under which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. In the domain of the family, fathers or father figures hold authority over women and children. It is these patriarchal systems that manifest domestic violence, specifically men’s violence toward women.
The term “domestic violence” has referred to men’s abuse of women who are (or were) their intimate partners, using a pattern of controlling tactics, from everyday indignities (name calling, public and private humiliations, threats, etc.) to physical and sexual assaults.
Today, “domestic violence,” often called, “intimate partner abuse,” refers to any person’s use of similar abusive strategies to control an intimate partner’s life, supported by unjust but historic privilege.
Two Clarifying Points:
Many men in the USA,Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), are not entitled, or privileged in our society generally, but are entitled over the women in their own communities.
These forms of privilege may be based on race, social class (who has more money and/or education), immigration status, who is “out” in family and/or work, etc.
NOMAS Model DV Offender Programs treat participants with respect. NOMAS Model DV Offender Programs are not punitive in policies or practices. If anything, courts levy punishments. The program gives each participant the opportunity to comply with the order to attend and complete the program.
We believe that every man is competent and capable of interacting respectfully with all the women in his life, most specifically his intimate partner…if he chooses to.
Connection to Battered Women’s Movement and/or Domestic Violence Coalitions
NOMAS Model programs operate in relationship to the battered women’s movement and their local domestic violence coalition.
Programs that do not do this undermine the leadership that battered women’s programs have in the community.
NOMAS Model programs operate in coordination with, and not independent of, community coalitions to end domestic violence. We recognize our very limited ability to promote change, and we recognize that change occurs through a multitude of processes. This multitude of processes includes community messaging and raising of awareness, through both institutional and interpersonal communications, as well as the Program’s “behaviors” and individual participant’s choices to consider perspectives being offered.
Commitment to ongoing learning
Ongoing learning and development for every instructor/facilitator and anyone administering the program is required.
Program policies and practices will evolve as we grow to understand impacts of the program on women and within our communities.
Consequences and education are the basis for change opportunity
Consequences and education form the basis of the opportunity for any individual change to occur through the program. This is in opposition to treatment or behavior change modalities. We recognize that male supremacy holds a power that must be chosen to be given up by individuals (and then to broader extents, institutions/systems and our larger cultural values, etc.).
This program provides information about systemic roots of domestic violence that offers individual men the greatest opportunity to alter their abusive behavior, should they choose to do so.