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Why negotiation is not viable in domestic violence cases

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a sensitive topic, especially for victims. Nonetheless, it is a matter that has to be addressed immediately to avoid further damage to victims and their loved ones. There are several viable methods to approach domestic violence cases. However, negotiation may not be one of them.

An imbalance of power

Domestic violence is a situation wherein one partner exerts power and control over the other, behaviors which can still occur even if the parties are no longer living together. This power imbalance makes fair negotiation nearly impossible, as the abuser may use intimidation and threats during the negotiation process.

Accordingly, victims of domestic violence may experience trauma and fear during the process, which can impair their ability to put their needs first or to make decisions in their best interest. They may agree to terms out of coercion rather than genuine consent.

Safety concerns

In domestic violence cases, the victim’s safety is the primary concern. Engaging in negotiation with their abuser can put the victim at greater risk of harm, as it may provoke further violence or retaliation. Hence, it is usually best to pursue methods that minimize or totally remove contact between the abuser and the victim.

Lack of genuine commitment

Effective negotiation requires both parties to act in good faith, with the shared goal to reach a mutually agreeable solution. However, abusers often lack this commitment, as their primary interest lies in maintaining control over their victim, not in finding a resolution.

Finding clarity through competent guidance

For these reasons, among many others, it is highly recommended that victims of domestic violence seek help from qualified professionals, such as law enforcement, legal counsel or support organizations, rather than attempting to negotiate directly with their abuser. This ensures victims receive proper guidance to make informed decisions and assure their protection.