The reasons for this principle are twofold. First, many victims want the violence to stop, but do not want the relationship to end. In order to support a victim's right to self-determination, interventions should be fashioned to be consistent with a victim's personal goals.
Second, abusers often escalate their violence during times of separation, increasing a victim's risk of harm, including serious and life-threatening injury. Separated or divorced women are 14 times more likely than married women to report being assaulted by a spouse or ex-spouse. (11) Furthermore, two-thirds of women killed by their male partners are killed when they are in the process of leaving or after they have already left. (12) The risk of escalated threats and physical harm often extends beyond the victim to others, including her children, friends, family members, and professionals from whom she may seek assistance. For a victim who chooses to separate from her partner, providers should be prepared to assist her in making a separation safety plan to help reduce the risks to herself and others.
Evaluating leaving as an option requires an honest and rigorous assessment of the risks attached. Providers should recognize that, at any given point, making the choice to stay with an abusive partner is often the most rational choice a victim can make to protect herself and others.
b.Intervention strategies with victims should be based on an empowerment model, actively supporting each victim's right to self-determination. This means that interventions should focus on helping victims explore and evaluate available options, make informed decisions, and design personal safety plans that reflect the victim's stated needs and goals. This includes providing information about available services and facilitating a victim's voluntary involvement in available services. It would not include mandating conditions for the provision of assistance to the victim, or (when within the provider's authority) mandating her involvement in services. A victim's right to self-determination may be limited when, in the provider's professional judgment, the victim's actions