This webinar by New York University’s Center on Violence and Recovery (NYU CVR) explores the history, practice, policy, research motivation and findings of the Circles of Peace model. Participants learned about the foundations of restorative justice, its impact on domestic violence crimes and why the Circles of Peace model remains a compelling approach for addressing domestic violence.
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The Circles of Peace model is the first of its kind in the United States to use restorative justice principles to treat those mandated to treatment for domestic violence crimes. The model is flexible, culturally sensitive, and coordinates with the criminal legal system to break patterns of abuse. It is an evidenced-informed model that uses peacemaking circle techniques and restorative practices to bring individuals who have been abusive together with willing family members/friends, support persons, a trained professional facilitator, and community volunteers. Rigorous studies of the model demonstrate the potential in offering a more just, compassionate, and effective response for combating domestic violence.
The Circles of Peace model has always been studied, as New York University’s Center on Violence and Recovery has evolved it as a best practice for domestic violence. It started with an initial study in Nogales, Arizona funded by the National Science Foundation. In that study, we found that restorative justice can be a viable and safe option for those mandated to treatment for domestic violence crimes. Our model was redesigned to develop a hybrid program in Salt Lake City, Utah, drawing on the best of the traditional approach (based on the Duluth model) to treatment and restorative justice. This hybrid program when compared to a standard domestic violence intervention program showed, in a randomized controlled trial, that the hybrid was significantly more effective (53% reduction in crime and 52% reduction in severity of crime). A qualitative study in Utah, funded by the National Institute of Justice, confirmed these quantitative results and further highlights the promise of this model. Our research is consistent with other studies that indicate that restorative justice-based programs can reduce domestic-violence recidivism, change family dynamics for the better, and involve the community in responding to domestic violence.
Founded in 2004, NYU CVR is a research center dedicated to advancing knowledge on the causes and consequences of violence/trauma and developing solutions that foster healing among individuals, families and communities. For the past two decades, NYU CVR has partnered with local judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers, victim advocates and community members in implementing and studying the use of restorative justice to address domestic violence crimes in communities across the nation. NYU CVR developed the “Circles of Peace” model in 2004, the first of its kind in the United States to use restorative justice principles to treat those arrested for DV crimes. Initially inspired by a partnership with a local judge in Nogales, Arizona, NYU CVR has gone on to develop an evidenced-informed program design which has garnered promising outcomes in three key jurisdictions (Arizona, Utah and Vermont). Local judges, other court personnel, treatment providers, victim advocates and community members from across the nation have hailed this approach as one to follow. Multiple studies including randomized controlled trials, funded by the National Science Foundation, and a qualitative study funded by the National Institute of Justice, have now been completed by NYU CVR, comparing restorative justice and Batterers’ Intervention Programs. Each new study highlights the model’s promise.
Briana Barocas, PhD
Director of Research
Dr. Briana Barocas oversees NYU CVR’s research initiatives and is also a Research Associate Professor at the Silver School of Social Work. She has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the Stern School of Business and the Silver School of Social Work. Her interests in trauma, resiliency and recovery have led to research on first responders, individuals and families affected by domestic violence and survivors of 9/11. Her research has been supported by the National Institute of Justice, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
She was the Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) team to develop an online platform for domestic violence treatment. She participated in the 2011 Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel co-sponsored by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. For the 2010-2011 academic year, she was a fellow of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In 2007, she was selected to participate in the Disaster Mental Health Research Mentoring Program, a two-year program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, in which she focused on disaster mental health in workplace settings.
Previously, Dr. Barocas was a consultant and researcher at Columbia University’s Center on Social Policy and Practice in the Workplace. She was the former Assistant Director of Cornell University’s Institute for Women and Work. Her earlier research on work-family issues and current work on the response to and recovery from violence and trauma have strengthened her commitment to developing and researching programs and services that better the lives of individuals, families and communities. She has presented at national and international conferences and published in Criminal Justice and Behavior, International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Journal of Experimental Criminology, Journal of Family Violence, Nature Human Behaviour, Partner Abuse as well as International Terrorism and Threats to Security: Managerial and Organizational Challenges and Stress in Policing: Sources, Consequences and Interventions.
Dr. Barocas holds a PhD in Social Policy and Policy Analysis from Columbia University, an MSc in Gender Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University.
Krystal McLeod, JD
Associate Director of Development & Education
Krystal McLeod oversees planning, development and implementation of NYU CVR’s restorative justice model for domestic violence crimes. A Dalai Lama Fellow, Truman Scholar, Compassionate Leadership Fellow and Senior Humanity in Action Fellow, her social justice work is intersectional, anti-racist and rooted in womanist thought. Ms. McLeod also worked as a White House Intern and with AM 100 law firms, NGOs and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). As a national advocate for social justice with a focus on addressing violence and cultivating recovery, she is also the Co-founder of Vanity's Truth LLC, an organization created by dynamic black women focused on raising the collective consciousness of BIPOC millennials through holistic mediums.
Ms. McLeod holds a JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School and a BA in Politics from New York University.