Kutztown University, USA
Varsha Pandya has had a long career in the field of Family Violence and Juvenile Justice in India and in USA. She teaches courses on understanding human behavior in social environment, research, and electives related to Family Violence. She has published two single-authored and one co-authored articles based on her research with offenders of intimate partner violence.
Diversion programs are increasingly used in the United States legal systems where criminal, social, and human problems mesh. Intimate partner violence is one such criminal act where courts are increasingly using diversion programs primarily mandating offenders to anger-management treatment. Research in last five decades has consistently showed that the recidivism rate among offenders of intimate partner violence in civilian population has been between 25-60% post-participation in diversion programs. This presentation will (1) share excerpts from interviews with offenders pre, during, and post their treatment program as well as from their therapy sessions to highlight the importance of relational, human dynamics between the offender and the victim to inform risk-assessment for re-offending (2) emphasize on training the interviewers in listening skills by sharing excerpts from pre interviews, and how such interviews may guide diversion sentencing (3) demonstrate potential for positive outcome when the offenders thought of their victims at every step of the way and/or voluntarily involved them to support them in their rehabilitation (4) recommend assessment of progress of offenders in diversion treatment program using stages of Change Process models (trans-theoretical and affective change process) for extending treatment of the offender. A discussion among participants will be strongly encouraged at the end of the presentation about how the relational perspective brought forth from social work profession may be blended with forensic insights contributed by fields like Medicine and Psychology to enhance criminal justice meted out to offenders of intimate partner violence.