Domestic Violence Experts gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, on the 7th and 8th of March 2019 for the CEP and EuroPris Expert Meeting on Domestic Violence in Prison and Probation. During this first meeting of the expert group on domestic violence the group has been given national presentations that provided a good picture on what’s going on in this field.
Domestic violence stands for at least 1/5 of all crimes in many countries and there is a common belief that domestic violence still is underreported. Many cases of domestic violence include very serious crimes like murder and the minor ones seem to be forgotten or neglected. It is important to remember that victims of domestic violence can be both men, women and also children. There is also a cultural dimension on how acceptable domestic violence is and what is considered domestic violence. Economic factors and opportunities that are offered to victims of domestic violence have a strong influence on the possibility to leave a violent relationship.
Many NGO´s in this field focus on the victims and distrust the prison and probation sector. They tend to forget that working with offender is a way to protect future victims. The Prison and Probation service in some countries works with victims of crimes but in many countries there are other services for victims. There is lack of programmes for treatment of domestic violence in prison in many countries. The Istanbul convention gives some direction for the work with perpetrators but is in general strongly victim oriented.
Close cooperation with different services is very important in domestic violence cases. Common tools provide for a common language which is important when many stakeholders are involved. SARA is a good example of that.
There is lot of good working already running in prison and probation organisations. But still there is a lot to be learned and developed. The first meeting of this expert group was a good start for further learning and development in this important field.