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All Mediators Need Rule 31 Domestic Violence Training. Here's Why.

January 18, 2022

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Photo by Sue Carroll on Unsplash

Written by Cynthia Greer, Institute for Conflict Management

Every nine seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten. One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year with 90% of these children being eyewitnesses to the violence. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an 8% increase in domestic violence incidents, causing the United Nations to refer to the current status of domestic violence as a shadow pandemic. Additional stress caused by unemployment, financial woes, and child care and home schooling has exacerbated an already troubling and complex reality of our country. In 2019, it was estimated that domestic violence health care cost about $8.3 billion dollars.

 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an 8% increase in domestic violence incidents, causing the United Nations to refer to the current status of domestic violence as a shadow pandemic.

While most individuals consider domestic violence to be physical abuse, that is only one type of abuse. Yes, it is much easier to "see" if a person has been beaten resulting in broken limbs, busted lips or bruises. But there are many other forms of abuse that cause significant harm to individuals, including: intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying and blaming, using children, using gender privilege, and economic abuse.

Sadly, many people do not even realize that they are being abused. In fact, 63% of abusers saw or were abused and understand domestic violence as the "expected" way of life that can continue for generations. Therefore, the violence often continues because individuals don't know better, they lack options, they don't have financial resources, they experience fear and shame, they feel isolated, or they feel there is no way to escape. In some situations, victims hope the abuser will change or "feel" that they deserve to be abused.

To address domestic violence and create a change, it will require a collaborative effort between victims, educators, police departments, courts, citizens, mental health professionals, hospital personnel, and profit/non-profit agencies in order to be successful in ending the cycles of violence and holding offenders accountable.

The 12-hour Rule 31 Domestic Violence training in the Lipscomb University, Institute for Conflict Management brings together attorneys, judges, police officers, therapists, educators, mediators and other professionals to expose them to various topics, including:

  • the types of domestic abuse

  • the potential warning signs of abuse

  • the psychological mindset of living in an abusive environment

  • and the short-term and long-term effects on the abuser, the victim and on the children.

Rule 31 DV training reviews the Tennessee statutes governing orders of protection, mediation, officer response and notice to victim, and restrictions in parenting plans and child custody. In addition, this training discusses the advantages and disadvantages of mediation in domestic violence cases, the need and process for pre-screening individuals prior to and during a mediation, the ways to conduct and conclude a mediation, and questionnaires to assess abuse. 

Rule 31 DV training also attempts to create an awareness for the need for many professions to work together on a consistent basis to create a foundation for change.

 

Cynthia Greer is a Rule 31 mediation trainer in the Lipscomb University, Institute for Conflict Management, housed in the College of Leadership and Public Service. Learn more about the Institute for Conflict Management and Rule 31 trainings. 


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