American University Professor’s Research Seeks to Curb Escalation of Domestic Violence

RLsnyderRachel Louise Snyder, an assistant professor of creative writing in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University in Washington, D.C., recently published an article in The New Yorker summarizing her research on domestic violence. Professor Snyder spent three and a half years conducting research on the topic of how to prevent cases of domestic violence from escalating to incidents of domestic homicide.

Professor Snyder found that in many cases domestic shelters for victims of domestic violence can cut off women from their support network of family and friends. Victims of domestic abuse who move into shelters often have their lives disrupted to such a degree that it makes matters even worse. “Tell me any other crime where the victim has to be imprisoned,” Professor Snyder asks.

Professor Snyder’s research found that about half of the women murdered in domestic violence incidents had previously sought protection from law enforcement. She found that a Danger Assessment Tool developed at a shelter in Massachusetts is a useful tool to determine the risks of domestic violence leading to domestic homicide. When high risk cases are identified, abusers can be fitted with monitoring devices and obliged to attend intervention clinics. Police are urged to frequently check-in with victims who are deemed high risk as a deterrent to their abusers and legal counseling is made available so victims can be educated on their options.

Snyder is the author of Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade (W.W. Norton, 2007). She is a graduate of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston.

The New Yorker article, “A Raised Hand: Can a New Approach Curb Domestic Homicide,” may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


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