Why the Duluth Model Works

The Duluth Model is successful because it is grounded in the experience of victims, helps offenders and society change, and pulls the whole community together to respond.

What works:

Agencies work together to try new approaches.

When agencies—from 911 to the courts—work together to create policies and procedures that interweave together, the whole system works in coordination to more effectively hold batterers accountable. Each agency has a part in identifying and rectifying gaps that hurt women. Each agency can do its job better.

It keeps women safe because it is developed from their own voices of experience.

Sometimes policies or plans that are developed and thought to help women who are battered actually cause more harm than good. The Duluth Model approach keeps the voices of victims central to any policies or plans that are made by including victims and the advocates who work closely with them in all decision making.

We realize that to keep women safe, we have to help abusive men change.

When the Duluth Model first began, women told us that they wanted us to work with their partners—that helping their partners change is what would most keep them safe. So, we began nonviolence courses to help abusive men look more closely at their actions, intentions and beliefs and the effect their actions had on their partners and others. Because it helps men get to the core of their actions and beliefs, our men’s nonviolence program is the most replicated program for men who batter in the world.

It has been tested by research and replication.

Research has found that by applying all the components of the Duluth Model, 68% of offenders who move through Duluth’s criminal justice system and men’s nonviolence classes do not reappear in the system eight years out. Communities worldwide that have adopted components of the Duluth Model have also found significant reductions in re-offense rates.

What’s working in your community’s response to the problem of domestic violence? Tell us.