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Court Responses to Batterer Program Noncompliance: A National Portrait

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2007
119 pages
The primary goal of this research was to determine the extent to which criminal courts nationwide are advancing the goals of accountability by imposing consequences on domestic-violence offenders who do not comply with a batterer program mandate.
The study was also interested in identifying the goals that courts, batterer programs, and victim assistance agencies currently ascribe to batterer programs. Overall, the study found that a foundation exists in most communities nationwide on which to build an accountability model for implementing court mandates to batterer programs; however, confusion about the purpose of batterer program mandates many divert attention from strengthening responses to noncompliance. The findings from nearly all of the 260 courts examined reported that they most often impose batterer program mandates on convicted offenders who were originally arrested on a misdemeanor (55 percent) or violation (39 percent) as opposed to a felony charge (6 percent). Generally, probation departments played a critical role in supervising batterer program mandates. Only 34 percent of the courts reported predisposition mandates. Sixty-two percent of the courts indicated that convicted offenders mandated to a batterer program must report back to court for periodic compliance monitoring; however, only 58 percent of those courts reported that the first compliance monitoring date was held within 4 weeks of mandate imposition, suggesting that many jurisdictions monitor at infrequent intervals. Almost half of the batterer programs surveyed reported that their program is 20-30 weeks long, and nearly all programs held one session per week. In addition to batterer programs, 83 percent sometimes mandate domestic-violence offenders to other types of programs, most often drug/alcohol abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and anger management. The study conducted a survey of 260 communities nationwide that met several criteria. A criminal court, batterer program, and victim assistance agency existed in each community surveyed. Extensive figures and tables, 60 references, and appended research instruments and materials

Date Published: March 1, 2007