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Faculty Publication: Assistant Professor of Social Work Lisa Young Larance

June 20, 2023
Lisa Young Larance

Methodological and Ethical Considerations When Working Beyond the Victim-Offender Binary: A Brief Report on the Unintended Consequences of the C-ABI

Authors: Lisa Young Larance, Margaret Kertesz

Source: Journal of Family Violence, DOI: 10.1007/s10896-023-00584-w, May 2023

Type of Publication: Article

Abstract: This Brief Report introduces the Contextual Abusive Behavior Inventory (C-ABI) — an assessment tool developed for antiviolence programs for women. After nearly 20 years use in the U.S., the C-ABI was implemented as part of a new antiviolence program for women in Australia. This was a community-based group work and case management program for women brought to court and child protective services attention for having used force in their relationships. Most women attending the program also disclosed extensive domestic and sexual violence survivorship histories. Thus, their experiences exist beyond being “victims” or “offenders.” The authors discuss methodological and ethical issues that arose during the program evaluation when the C-ABI was used both as an assessment tool and a research measure to increase understanding about the characteristics and needs of women who have resorted to using force. Practitioners found that the C-ABI was a valuable assessment tool but that it could be and was used against the women by referring institutions. The authors highlight issues for consideration in using and storing the C-ABI both as an assessment tool and a research measure. When working alongside carceral systems of power, practitioners and researchers confront daily challenges of how best to balance women’s intervention needs with the demands of referring entities and potential ongoing risk. The authors hope that, by detailing their experiences with the C-ABI, this brief report will encourage thoughtful innovations in practice and research when working in contexts beyond the victim offender binary.

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