Skip to main content

The Therapist's Duty to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going

Buy Article:

$32.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


After ten years of court decisions that have gradually broadened the scope of the psychotherapist's duty to protect potential victims from violence, California has recently passed legislation that limits liability only to those cases where a patient has made a specific threat to an identifiable victim. Although this legislation has articulated the appropriate clinical response in such situations, it may have created a false sense of security for therapists treating patients who are perpetrators or victims of family violence. Though some perpetrators of violence do make a specific verbal threat, therapists are likely to encounter many more who do not verbalize a threat, but nevertheless pose a serious danger to their family members. This article briefly discusses the recent history of the duty-to-protect issue and the violence prediction literature as they relate to domestic violence. Specific interventions are suggested for clinicians in cases where the violence potential is great but no specific threat is made by the client.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: 1: Private practice, Sausalito, CA. 2: University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

Publication date: 1986-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2014 Impact Factor is 0.858.
  • Information for Authors
  • Information for Advertisers
  • Free Sample Issue
  • Subscribe to this Journal
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more