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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. 

Comparing Batterer Intervention Systems
Comparing batterer intervention systems

The limits and issues of previous evaluations led us to develop an alternative of our own. In the early 1990s, I had several discussions with battered-women's advocates and batterer program staff about the effectiveness of batterer programs. In their eyes, the existing program evaluations were not satisfying or substantial. The prospects of funding such programs, moreover, made policy makers of statewide coalitions wary. These coalitions represent battered-women's services in their respective states, advocates for legislation and funding to support these services and administer funds, technical support, and education on woman battering. The Texas coalition—the Texas Council on Family Violence—was, for instance, developing state funding to assist batterer programs.

Drawing on these discussions and our previous research experience, my colleagues ...

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