Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, February 02, 2018

Batterer/Abuser Intervention - Does It Work?

Research on Batterer Intervention Programs

“Can people who batter change?”

This is a common question with a complicated answer. Some people do make changes in their actions and the beliefs that underlie the violence. Such change takes a long period of time. And some people may not change, even if they attend a batterer intervention program. In fact, thousands of people attend this program, often against their will. For example, everyone convicted of a domestic violence offense in California is required to attend a 52-week batterer intervention program.

These programs should not be called “treatment” because people who batter are not “sick” or “ill” but must change their belief system that justifies violence in their relationships. Effective batterer intervention programs are not “anger management” programs because abusive behavior comes from beliefs justifying power and control, not from anger.

Just because an abuser attends a batterer intervention group, abusive behavior may not stop. In most research many people in these groups do commit violence after they have enrolled. Victims should continue to determine whether or not they feel safe.

Successful batterer intervention programs rely on the coordinated community response that includes law enforcement, the courts, probation department, and domestic violence advocates. Only when a community takes domestic violence seriously with clear and consistent consequences, do batterer intervention programs exist in the environment where people can change.

In all measures (surveys, reports to police, injuries in hospitals, calls to hotlines), men commit most incidents of domestic violence. Most batterer intervention program focus on men and address issues of male socializations that contribute to violence beliefs and behavior. While some women are arrested for domestic violence, most of them are primarily victims of domestic violence who have committed a violent act. While there are some programs for lesbians, gay men and women who batter, the majority of research focuses on heterosexual men who batter.

It is difficult to measure success. Good research should not be limited to one factor. Look at many measures over a long period of time, such as: change in attitudes, re-arrest/police/probation records, self-reports of abuse, and partner reports of abuse.

There are many types of programs. Some prominent organizations that provide training and have developed a curriculum are:

Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
206 West Fourth Street
Duluth, MN 55806
(218) 722-2781

2380 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 101
Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 547-9879

30 Monterey Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 239-8050

Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE)
1385 Mission Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-MOVE

Volunteer Counseling Service (VCS)
Community Change Project
77 S. Main Street
New City, NY 10956
(914) 634-5729

Here is some recent research, evaluation and commentary on this issue:

Edleson, Do Batterers’ Programs Work?, 1995

Gondolf, Multi-Site Evaluation of Batterer Intervention Systems: Summary of the 15-month Follow-up, 1997

Gondolf, Multi-Site Evaluation of Batterer Intervention Systems: A Summary of Findings for a 12-month Follow-up, 1997

Gondolf, Characteristics of Batterers in a Multi-Site Evaluation of Batterer Intervention Systems, 1995

Gondolf, Discharge Criteria for Batterer Programs, 1995

Gondolf, Men Who Batter: A Selected Bibliography, 1995

Montreal Men Against Sexism, Limits and Risks of “Programs for Wife Batterers”, 1995

Tolman and Edleson, Intervention for Men Who Batter: A Review of Research, 1995

from Support Network for Battered Women

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shared by Barbara at 12:30 AM



Barbara, This doesn't go with this article but I wanted to share some info. There's a current radio interview with Dr. Robert Hare on "Aftermath Radio" dated 05 Mar.2012. The program is about 45 mins. long. In it he says that he's compiled quite a few letters from victims of psychopaths and that he'd like to write a book using these letters. But guess what? HE CAN'T FIND A PUBLISHER! He says he's been asked to update his other book (Without Consceince, 1993) but that this would be a lot of work and that he may instead do an addendum.

In the book "The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson he mentions that Dr. Hare has had to carry a gun as he has been threatened. See, I keep forgetting that Dr. Hare is nearly 80 years old (according to Wikipedia). This man has been carrying the torch in getting the word out about psychopathy. There are now many others who are familiar with this subject and need to step up and get the word out.

8:53 PM  

The statement that batterers are not ill is not correct. Some batterers are not ill, but most are: they have personality disorders. Most batterers use emotional, financial, etc. abuse before they start beating, and they are most often have antisocial/personality and/or borderline personality disorder. It's considered mental illness, but is not cureable, nor even helped for that matter. You cannot give these men a new limbic system or a conscience. Best to just lock them up and throw away the key so women can get free, and they cannot breed again nor cause a new generation of abusers or ones sucked into the 'charm' of the batterer. (They don't start beating right way, they charm you, hook you, then slowly erode you before they ever lay a hand on you.)

8:30 PM  

You are 100% correct! It IS a sicknessssince it is a personality disorder. & its true that these things are so ingrained from childhood from
Beliefs & attitudes passed down from the abuser to the son's, that then become the next generation of abusers, & the daughters become the next generation of victims. I am experiencing this w/ my own family, my brother became the next generation of abuser to his wife, now his young son & daughter are becoming ingrained w/ these beliefs & attitudes witnessing all of the abuse. Its true, that it is a long "grooming process" of being sucked into the web of control, manipulation, & degradation before the physical abuse ever starts. Its a sick web, & EVERY person involved is effected by it!. It is emotionally draining & depressing me to say the least!. People need to read the "Stockholm Theory" to understand why the wemon abused can't seem to get out. Even though I know all of this, I'm angry that she can't see what its doing to her children, & find a way to find the strength to get help & make him get help.
what they lived through. I truly believe that the limbic system gets permanently altered through severe childhood trauma. PTS is from that alteration, as well as lifelong depression issues from the abuse. I know this, because I have lived this!. Change can happen, w/ some abusers, but there has to be a genuined deep want to change. When most are forced to go by a court system, most will go through the motions, maybe a small percentage will change.

12:46 PM  

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