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Multi-Site Evaluation of Batterer Intervention Systems: A 30-Month Follow-Up of Court-Mandated Batterers in Four Cities -- Brief Report

NCJ Number
Edward W. Gondolf MPH
Date Published
August 1998
5 pages
This research extends a previous 15-month follow-up evaluation of four batterer intervention systems in Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, and Denver; a major objective of the extended follow-up was to identify any long-term trends of repeat assaults and abuse not evident in the shorter 15-month follow-up.
The four intervention systems varied in extent and comprehensiveness. The least extensive was a 3-month, pretrial batterer program of weekly didactic group sessions and screening for possible referral to alcohol and drug treatment, and the most extensive was a 9-month, postconviction, discussion-oriented program with individual evaluations and in-house treatment for alcohol or psychological problems. A 30-month follow-up was conducted through phone interviews with 580 batterers and their female partners from the initial sample of 840 male batterers (210 from each research site) and their female partners. Findings show that less than half of the men repeated assaults on their partners within 2.5 years of program intake, according to their female partners; however, most of the repeat assaults occurred within the first 6 months after intake and then progressively decreased. Approximately 80 percent of the men did not re-assault a partner during this 15-month period. The most surprising finding may be the positive responses of the women about improvements in their quality of life and their general safety. A core group of 20-25 percent of the men re-assaulted their partners early in the follow-up, repeatedly committed assaults on their initial or new partners, and accounted for nearly all the severe assaults and injury. Those who committed repeat assaults were more likely to have antisocial tendencies, major psychological problems, or be frequently drunk. Program dropouts were also more likely to re-assault than men who completed at least 3 months of a batterer program. This finding suggests a "program effect" beyond the arrest and court action. The outcomes across the four intervention systems remained similar at the 30-month follow-up. One possible explanation is that the quick response to and court supervision of domestic violence cases in the 3-month pretrial program helped compensate for the shorter program duration and less comprehensive services. 3 references