3.1.4 Networking

Training classes with male perpetrators are more effective when they are embedded into an intervention network (Gondolf 2002). The risk of recidivism is higher with men participating voluntarily than with those who are court referred. This fact presumes that a strong network of police, court, department of children’s and young people’s affairs, physicians, women shelters and women helplines etc. is needed to a) increase protection for the victim and b) increase the chance that the perpetrator will finish the training. The threat of legal sanctions, periodic court review or specialised probation surveillance and continuing risk management will improve the outcome, too.

Since lesbian women rarely report to the police the outlined network might not be sufficient. Furthermore, not all intervention networks include official institutions: While it is common in Germany, different structures can be found within other European countries.

Working with female/lesbian perpetrators requires a network which allows voluntary participation and at the same time provides best protection for the victim: Voluntary participation is based on various motivations, ranging from a feeling of suffering, the desire/willingness to change one’s own behaviour to the fear of losing the partner or on partner’s demand.

Requirements for networks

  • Intervention networks should be interdisciplinary, intersectional and should include institutions as well as NGOs. They should represent the diversity of women as perpetrators, victims, as well as women with diverse ethnical background, social classes, believes etc. It is indispensable that all members of intervention networks are aware of the diversity of women. The diversity of women should be reflected in taken measures. Further, working with perpetrators – male and female ones – should be a subject of discussion.
  • Since in some European countries legal sanctions for domestic violence apply for same-sex partnerships as well, it is necessary to disclose this fact to the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Offers matter – LGBT organisations need to submit offers for LGBT victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
  • LGBT organisations need to be trained to attend victims through court cases.
  • LGBT organisations need to be trained to work with LGBT perpetrators.
  • Women shelters and women help-lines need information about LGBT groups working with victims and/or perpetrators of domestic violence.
  • Public relation of intervention networks should address domestic violence in same-sex partnerships.
  • Liaison officers should be included in intervention networks.
  • A reference system needs to be implemented.


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Funded by:and
European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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