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“[We should] raise boys and men so they know it’s fine to cry and to show fear or other ‘weakness,’ and that expressing anger is not the only acceptable emotion for males,” says Nancy Lemon, Boalt Lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley Law School and author a leading textbook on domestic violence law.
Among the ideal targets for the interventions are the kids most at risk of becoming abusers later in life—the ones who, while very young, are victims of or witnesses to abuse in their homes. And there’s sporadic evidence that some programs have produced positive results on a small scale—for example, 2000 California high-schoolers who participated in a program called “Coaching Boys Into Men” said they were less likely to engage in abusive behavior and more likely to stop a friend from showing abusive behavior.
One in four women say they have been victims of domestic violence, according to studies.
Even though that number will fall over time, because of the recent progress, that’s still a whole lot of people—not just millions, but tens of millions.
"The demand for services far exceeds the supply," says Stewart.
Divorces frequently involve allegations of domestic violence.
But overwhelming social science evidence, the kind that undergirds other successful government and private sector programs, doesn’t really exist—partly because nobody has had the funds or opportunity to do the necessary, long-term research.
“We don’t really know for sure what works,” says Richard Gelles, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of .
FVPSA is not a huge program: it doled out 0 million last year.“And that has to do a great deal with readiness to change, plus receptiveness to intervention.”Ray Rice -- photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images But precisely because the success rate is relatively low, experts think it’s important that penalties be tough—and consistent. And it’s true for private organizations, like professional sports leagues.“Forcing batterers into treatment works for some, but not for most,” says Tania Tetlow, a former federal prosecutor, a law professor at Tulane, and director of the Domestic Violence Center there.In addition, many researchers think it’s possible to reach kids more directly, through schools or through their parents.According to these researchers, themes should include how men treat women—and how they express their own emotions.
That’s why, in addition to scaling up the most promising programs, there needs to be intensive study of them.