Arresting Abusers: Does it Really Make an Impact?

Arresting Abusers: Does it Really Make an Impact?

WodBottom's mission has always been to support the survivors of domestic violence and their families. We do this in part by donating a portion of our profits to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), but also by sharing blogs dedicated to talking about domestic violence and the issues surrounding it. 

We discuss domestic abuse to empower victims and survivors, break the stigma surrounding the issue, promote healthy relationships, and in an attempt to create a safer, more compassionate society. 

Does Arresting Abusers Impact their Behavior?

When it comes to domestic violence, one of the most common responses is for the abuser to be arrested. While this may seem like a straightforward solution, there are many questions about whether or not being arrested actually impacts an abuser. Is an arrest truly effective when it comes to stopping the cycle of abuse?

Immediate Impact of an Arrest

At the time of an arrest, an abuser may feel a range of emotions, from anger and frustration to fear and shame. They may also experience consequences such as being held in jail, being issued a restraining order, or losing their job.

While these consequences may seem severe, it's important to remember that they are not necessarily enough to change an abuser's behavior. Domestic violence is a complex issue that often requires a long-term and multifaceted approach.

Long-Term Impact of an Arrest

In some cases, an arrest can serve as a wake-up call for an abuser. They may realize the seriousness of their actions and take steps to address their behavior, such as attending counseling or anger management classes.

However, in many cases, an arrest alone is not enough to change an abuser's behavior. Research has shown that domestic violence is often a pattern of behavior that is deeply ingrained in an abuser's mindset and requires significant effort to change.

Furthermore, being arrested can sometimes reinforce an abuser's belief that they are the victim, rather than the perpetrator, of domestic violence. This can make them more resistant to change and less likely to take responsibility for their actions.

Additional Approaches to Addressing Domestic Violence

While arresting an abuser is sometimes necessary to protect the victim and hold the perpetrator accountable, it cannot be the only approach used for addressing domestic violence. There are many alternative approaches that can be used after or before an arrest that have been shown to be effective in reducing violence and changing behavior, such as:

  • Education and awareness-raising campaigns
  • Early intervention programs that work with abusers before violence occurs
  • Counseling and therapy for both the abuser and the victim
  • Community-based programs that provide support and resources to victims and their families

It Takes More Than an Arrest

Although being arrested can result in immediate consequences for an abuser, it is not always sufficient to alter their behavior in the long run. Domestic violence is a multifaceted issue that demands a comprehensive approach, encompassing education, awareness-raising, early intervention, counseling, and community-based support. By adopting a more holistic approach, we can strive to prevent domestic violence and establish a more equitable and secure society for everyone.

How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help. This can include reaching out to a domestic violence hotline, contacting a local shelter, or seeking support from friends and family members.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a confidential resource designed to educate survivors and connect them with the resources they need to thrive. Visit, call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text “START” to 88788 to connect with a trusted advocate.

Click here to learn more about reporting domestic abuse safely.
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