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Barbara J. Hart Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, USA

Barbara J. Hart is an attorney, advocate, scholar, organizer, and public policy analyst.   She is among the multitude of women activists who co-founded the battered women’s movement in the mid-70’s. Commencing in 1978, she shepherded efforts to draft and implement civil protection order statutes across the country. For 30 years thereafter she fostered an informal national network of advocates, attorneys, and judges who collaborated in the development of state and federal law (i.e., criminal, civil, family, and administrative), public policy, litigation strategies, and ‘best practice’ professional guidelines designed to protect, restore, and liberate domestic violence survivors.  For upwards of 25 years, she directed several national technical assistance initiatives on ‘violence against women’ and has consulted in numerous venues on research related to violence against women. 

Ms. Hart is a co-founder of several groundbreaking organizations, including but not limited to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, the Battered Women’s Justice Project, the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit, and the Domestic Violence Resource Network. Ms. Hart has authored several hundred papers on domestic violence, some of which appear in a collection of her work on the website.

Ms. Hart established the Batterer Intervention Services Network of Pennsylvania, convening accountability and monitoring meetings among BIP providers and women’s advocates. Her efforts served as a national model for collaborative work between survivor advocates and BIP providers.  She organized the first national meeting addressing both the role of men in the domestic violence movement and standards for BIP services.

She co-authored several sections of the federal Violence Against Women Act(s).  She was on the team that developed the Model Code on Family Violence for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She convened the panel of representatives from a dozen or so Indian nations to produce Violence Against Native Women: A Guide for Practitioner Action.  She also participated in the design and analysis of the first multi-state study on batterer intervention programs (BIPs) for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

She served as a consultant and speaker for numerous federal, state, and local agencies.  She has received numerous awards and honors, among them are several from Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.

In retirement, she continues to write monthly columns for the National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention.

She was battered.  Her partner’s violence propelled her into organizing for justice for battered women.