Criminological Treatment of Abusing Partners

Criminological Treatment of Abusing Partners

Guido Travaini (University Vita e Salute San Raffale Milan, Italy), Palmina Caruso (University of Milan, Italy), Enrica Beringheli (University of Milan, Italy) and Isabella Merzagora (University of Milan, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1286-9.ch024

Abstract

Criminological rehabilitative treatments of abusive partners have always been considered of key importance from a preventive point of view. Criminological research, and our experience as criminologists, has proved that even the most abusive partners—including uxoricides—after their convictions repeat the same violent relationship pattern. That said, the Chair of Criminology (University of Milan) set up the first action and research program in Italy offering treatment for perpetrators of domestic violence, called S.A.Vi.D. (Stop Alla Violenza Domestica – an Italian acronym meaning: Stopping Domestic Violence) in 2010. Information about all the subjects treated will also be described and discussed: age, legal status motives, offender behavior prior to treatment, whether and how behavior changed after treatment.
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The Law

With law no. 154 in 2001, certain ad hoc measures to protect victims were introduced. In the context of preventative measures judges can order those accused of violence out of the family home and ban them from other places frequented by victims (article 282-bis, penal code procedure). Similar measures can be taken by the civil courts on request by domestic violence victims via protection from family abuse law. In such cases judges can request the involvement of the social and health services and anti-violence centers.

With law no. 38 dating to 2009 (the stalking law), (art. 612-bis Italian Criminal Code) which added the crime of stalking to the Italian penal code, a ban on stalkers going to places frequented by victims was brought in. Such crimes involve repeat behavior capable of causing victims constant anxiety or fear or a well-founded fear for their own safety or that of those close to them. Punishments are more severe if the perpetrator is a person with whom the victim has had an emotional relationship.

In 2013 Italian parliament then ratified law no. 119 which came into force on 1st August 2014 in the wake of the Istanbul Convention (Council of Europe, 2011), the first internationally binding tool to define violence against women as a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. This set out the various forms of violence against women which states were to include in their penal codes or judicial law and brought in important new safeguards:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Criminological Interview: Professional meeting (between a criminologist and an offender) that aims to understand the criminogenesis, whenever possible, and to identify the best treatment strategies to adopt.

Criminological Treatment: Individual or group treatment intended for offenders, aiming to promote awareness about moral disengagement of their actions, award of all the damages caused and to identify new strategies to prevent or reduce repeat offence.

Criminological Supervision: Activity in which an experienced criminologist helps and professionally supports a less expert colleague.

Criminodynamics: Analysis on “how” the crime has been committed, or when the criminal career started, focusing mainly on the psychological and motivational dynamics of the offender.

Repeat Offence: Commission of a new offence by someone already found guilty for the same crime or for a different one. This is a very significant index of criminal danger, since it gives the criminologist an idea about the offender’s ability to understand the consequences of his/her criminal actions.

Criminogenesis: Assessment process that aims to identify one or more possible reasons that could explain why the offender committed a crime. The process focuses on different aspects, such as personal and psychological features, life experiences, social and environmental factors, and in general, everything that led him to commit a crime.

Criminological Prevention: One or more coordinated actions taken by a criminologist to prevent or reduce second offence behaviors. It’s divided into primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

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