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Regional and Cultural Utility of Conventional Batterer Counseling

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 10 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2004 Pages: 880-900
Edward W. Gondolf
Date Published
August 2004
21 pages

This study involved a multisite evaluation of batterer counseling programs across three distinct regions of the United States, the Northeast, the South, and the West.


The centerpiece of batterer intervention in the United States has become batterer counseling, but questions have emerged about its utility across regions and cultures. Thus, the major question facing the field is the extent to which conventional batterer counseling should be adapted to accommodate cultural and regional differences. The current research involved a naturalistic comparative design across four cities, with quasi-experimental studies conducted at each site. Four well-established, gender-based cognitive-behavioral battering counseling programs were chosen in Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, and Denver. The evaluation involved a longitudinal 4-year follow-up beginning at intake, with 4-month periodic interviews of 854 men and their female partners. The extended follow-up (15 to 48 months) sample size was reduced to 618 for efficiency and cost reduction. The study focused on an array of outcomes and analyses, including personality and behavioral traits, re-assault trends following intake, techniques of violence avoidance practiced by the men, and identification and prediction of the most dangerous men. Regional effects were measured by comparing outcomes across sites. Results indicated that differences between sites included demographic, court procedures, police practices, and State law. Despite these differences, personality and behavioral characteristics were similar across sites. The author cautions that the lack of regional differences found in this study may be confounded by a range of intervention components. The on-going study also compared outcomes of African-American men counseled with two forms of specialized batterer counseling against outcomes for conventional counseling. Results of the experimental, clinical trial showed similar outcomes for each type of counseling. Thus, conventional counseling appears to be appropriate for most men ordered to batterer counseling programs, however tailoring batterer program components has the potential to enhance positive outcomes, especially for men with high cultural identification. References