• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

One of the most burning debates in the domestic violence field is over the effectiveness of batterer programs and how to improve them. Batterer Intervention Systems responds to this debate with research from a multi-site evaluation of batterer programs—the most comprehensive and extensive evaluation to date. It critiques current experimental evaluations, exposes the complex issues of evaluation, and presents alternatives to assessing effectiveness. A four-year follow-up of program participants reveals a surprising de-escalation of abuse, a subgroup of unresponsive repeat reassaulters, and the difficulty in identifying the most dangerous men. Conventional batterer counseling appears to be appropriate for the vast majority of men. Most of all, the book shows that the "system" matters and can be improved through some straightforward adjustments. 

Introduction: The Emergence of Batterer Programs and Intervention Systems
Introduction: The emergence of batterer programs and intervention systems

Batterer programs have become fixtures of American social services. These programs generally consist of weekly group counseling sessions for men arrested for assaulting their female partners. Batterer programs are innovative efforts juggling a number of influences and issues. This makes them particularly interesting as a distinct kind of programming. As straightforward as they may appear, batterer programs are complicated by several unique features:

  • They emerged amidst a social movement to identify and help battered women but have increasingly become an entity unto themselves.
  • They are largely community-based programs, relying heavily on user fees, but often operate as an “official” agency for the criminal justice system.
  • They attempt to counsel and help ...
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