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Batterer Programs: What Criminal Justice Agencies Need to Know

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages
Publication Series

In order to provide judges and probation officers with basic information about batterer treatment program goals and methods, this report, a summary of the full-length study, presents information about batterer intervention programs that are operating throughout the country.


Information for this report was obtained from observations of batterer intervention programs and a number of other sources, including interviews with key program directors and staff and a review of the literature on the topic. Thirteen programs in five States were selected for this study. All of the programs profiled are structurally similar, proceeding from intake through assessment, victim contact, group treatment, and completion, but each program is based on one of several theoretical approaches to domestic violence. Most of the pioneers in intervention use the feminist model, which attributes the problem to societal values that legitimate male control. This model uses education and skills-building to resocialize batterers. The less common family systems interventions, based on the notion that violent behavior stems from dysfunctional family interactions, emphasize building communication skills within the family. Psychotherapeutic and cognitive-behavioral interventions are based on the belief that domestic violence is related to the offender's psychological problems, and, as a result, emphasize therapy and counseling. The EMERGE and AMEND models constitute a blend of the feminist educational approach with more in-depth and intensive group work. One trend reflects the view that interventions should be based on various typologies or categories of batterers. Of these, the typologies that group offenders by their psychological factors may be less useful for criminal justice purposes than those that do so by degree of risk for dropping out or reoffending. Other specialized approaches are designed to enhance program retention of specific populations based on sociocultural characteristics such as poverty, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. 31 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1998