Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment

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The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment

Domestic Violence has been an integrated part of many family units throughout history. Until the mid 1980's, domestic violence was thought to be the families problem, a dirty little secret that needed to be dealt with inside the family circle. This mind set changed when a notable study was done in the Minneapolis Minnesota area in the 1980's. This study not only impacted the actual area it was conducted in, but the way domestic violence offenders were dealt with by police officers across the country.

Significant studies have been done since the 1980's, studies that include: how domestic violence impacts the family unit as a whole, treatment methods for the victims, family members, and offenders, as well as policing techniques. Some theorist fancy the idea of privatizing the police in order to effectively respond to domestic violence situations, while others suggest that community policing methods could assist in such situations. In the early months of 1981 through mid 1982, an experiment was conducted under a grant from the National Institute of Justice; this experiment became known as: The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment. "The experiment was conducted within the Minneapolis Police Department in combination with the Police Foundation," (1) explains Lawrence W. Sherman, Vice President of research for the Police Foundation and associate professor of criminology at the University of Maryland, and Richard A. Berk, professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara and director of the Social Process Research Institute, and authors of The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment.

The experiment was conducted to solve an ongoing intense debate between three different organizations; each having their own views on how police should handle domestic violence responses. The Minneapolis Police Departments, "traditional approach of doing as little as possible, on the premise that offenders will...
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