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Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America

Distributed by New Day Films, 190 Route 17M, P.O. Box 1084, Harriman, NY 10926; 888-367-9154 or 845-774-7051
Produced by Peter Cohn
Directed by Peter Cohn
DVD, color, 64 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Criminal Justice, Gender Studies, Law, Social Work, Sociology, Women's Studies

Reviewed by Barb Bergman, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 8/18/2010

Power and Control provides an exploration of domestic violence in relation to the application of the Duluth model.

Thirty years ago Ellen Pence and others established a different response model at the battered womenís shelter in Duluth, Minnesota. Now common policies for response and therapy that began in Duluth include mandatory arrests when injury is involved in a domestic disturbance and therapy based on using the Power and Control wheel to help understand abusive behaviors and provide victims with a proactive response. The Duluth model seeks to provide a unified process from the initial police response, the courts, and the social services provided after. Ellen Pence talks about the progress that has been made while also expressing disappointment that domestic violence remains a persistent problem.

What makes this film effective is that it follows a real family. In a series of interviews filmed over the course of several months, Kim talks about why she left her abusive husband, her time in the shelter, regaining confidence, getting a job, behavioral problems seen with the kids, and ultimately letting her husband move back in with her and their three young children. The film also includes a menís therapy group session and brief interviews with several of the abusers, including Kimís husband.

Although focused on the Duluth model, the film does use a chapter to introduce several critics and opposing viewpoints. One point made is that oftentimes the victim does not want to sever the relationship with the abuser, and therefore argues that a different therapy approach is required.

Power and Control will be useful in a wide range of courses in the sociological sciences.

Companion videos for law enforcement and health care are also available.