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authority available to them to hold abusers accountable

Abusers are coercive and violent because they can do so with impunity and because the behavior works to control their female partners. It is the community's responsibility-not the responsibility of victims-to hold abusers accountable. Providers should, therefore, use all available means to hold abusers accountable for their abusive behavior, and should act swiftly and consistently. Ideally, systems' responses to domestic violence should be well thought out, expressed in writing, and widely publicized to the community. In this way, consequences are more likely to be known to the abuser as well.

b.Providers' responses to perpetrators of domestic violence should focus solely on the abusive behaviors and reinforce abusers' sole responsibility for their coercive and violent behavior.

There are no acceptable excuses for domestic violence. When a system or community "buys into" abusers' excuses, it results in collusion, which allows abusers to avoid responsibility for their abuse. Responses that focus on personal or moral deficits, diseases, low self-esteem, early childhood experiences, anger management, diminished intellect, addiction, mental illness, other persons, or external events, as the means to "solving" domestic violence, give abusers support for the excuses they offer to explain their abusive behavior and undermine abusers' ability to achieve insight about their capacity to stop their abuse against their partners.

Engagement in or referrals to alcohol/other drug treatment programs, mental health services, anger management programs, or psychiatric care facilities should not be used as responses to abusers' violent behavior, although such referrals may be indicated as a response to other issues in addition to the appropriate criminal or civil justice sanctions for the violent behavior.

c.Providers who have a legal duty to warn, should take appropriate steps to protect the intended victim when they have direct knowledge of an abuser's intent to do harm to that intended victim.

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