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Predicting Levels of Abuse and Reassault Among Batterer Program Participants

NCJ Number
D. Alex Heckert Ph.D.; Edward W. Gondolf M.P.H
Date Published
February 2004
103 pages
This document discusses the prediction of reoffending for male batterers.
Prediction of abuse and reassault among men referred to batterer programs would help determine sanctions for batterers and assist women in making safety decisions. Three main approaches to prediction are the use of risk markers, risk assessment instruments, and batterer types. These approaches have produced relatively weak predictions for primarily dichotomized "reassault" versus "no reassault" outcomes. The goal of the present research was to improve prediction using multinomial logistic regressions with multiple outcomes and conditional factors for risk markers, simulated risk instruments, and batterer personality types. Another goal was to explore for alternative batterer types and abuse outcome categories that might further improve prediction. Data from an evaluation of four batterer programs were used. Its variables included large sample size (840), 4 sites, 15-month follow-up, and high response rate (70 percent of the women). Multiple outcomes included no abuse, verbal abuse or controlling behavior, threats, one reassault, and repeated reassaults. Conditional factors included living together, relationship troubles, antisocial behaviors, and the woman filing a protection order. The results were compared with equations that used dichotomized outcomes to determine whether prediction improved. The results indicated that using multiple outcomes improved prediction with risk markers; conditional variables did not improve prediction; and including batterer personality types did not improve prediction. It was concluded that using psychological assessments to determine the extent of intervention may not be that useful; risk assessment instruments should be used with caution; women's risk appraisals should be obtained and heeded; and "high-risk" batterers are not easily identifiable or "typed." 27 tables, 110 references, appendix