The feminist debate on no-drop prosecution is long-standing. However, the ways liberal and radical feminist perspectives inform advocacy in applied settings are limited in the extant research.
The feminist debate on no-drop prosecution is long-standing. However, the ways liberal and radical feminist perspectives inform advocacy in applied settings are limited in the extant research. Drawing from interviews with 26 domestic violence (DV) victim advocates, the current study examines perspectives and practices of victim advocates in no-drop prosecution cases. Two predominate themes emergeda survivor-defined approach to advocacy emphasizing the individual situations and choices of battered women, and a social change approach focusing on changing the social structures that tolerate violence against women. Findings indicated the relationship between such practices was complex, overlapping, and at times contradictory. While advocates generally supported no-drop prosecution with the goal of social change, survivor-defined approaches superseded social change efforts for a majority of advocates. Survivor-centered advocacy and no-drop prosecution at times conflicted with one another. Advocates described victims' concerns about safety, livelihood, and trauma testifying in court as challenges to the policy, as well as the practice of holding victims in contempt of court and jailing them for not testifying. At the same time, advocates illustrated how survivor-defined advocacy complimented prosecution by addressing women's myriad of needs and concerns related to prosecution. Advocates indicated that victims were more likely to safely participate in prosecution when their individual needs were addressed. Implications for DV victim advocacy are presented. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.