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Evaluating Probation Based Offender Programmes for Domestic Violence Perpetrators: A Pro-Feminist Approach

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 41 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 221-236
Erica Bowen; Len Brown; Elizabeth Gilchrist
Date Published
July 2002
16 pages
This article suggests evaluation methods for determining the effectiveness of rehabilitation for domestic violence perpetrators and evaluates the pro-feminist approach.
Survey data suggest that domestic violence is common in the United Kingdom. Domestic violence can have detrimental effects on the psychological well being of victims. Recidivism rates of domestic violence offenders who are left untreated have been found to be as high as 68 percent. The pro-feminist approach to domestic violence posits that it is a learned behavior endorsed by the patriarchal society through which men assert their power over women in order to control them. The aims are to identify the thinking errors and core beliefs of offenders and replace abusive behavior patterns with non-aggressive, egalitarian, and pro-social ways of interacting with their partners. There is little evidence of the effectiveness of these programs. The increase in the successful prosecution of domestic violence cases has led to the development of alternative sentencing options including offender rehabilitation. These developments have arisen regarding evidence-based practice requiring new methods to be evaluated. A well-designed evaluation should determine the impact of a service against the defined criteria or goals of the program. The central aims of evaluation are to assess attitudinal change and the cessation of the physical and psychological abuse challenged by program objectives. The results of the evaluation should be replicable. If a program is found to be effective other treatment providers can adopt it. The methodological issues are defining and measuring success, the design, the sample selection, attrition, assessment tools, and follow-up. Evaluations are needed to ensure that the rehabilitation approach fulfills its aim to stop the physical and psychological abuse of women. 96 references