• 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. 

Conclusion: The System Matters
Conclusion: The system matters

So what does it all mean? Our multisite evaluation has been a long and sometimes complicated journey. In our attempt to address limitations and issues of previous program evaluations, we have discovered some new areas to consider. Our examination of reassault rates and women's perceptions, for instance, presents a more positive picture than previous evaluations and an implicit endorsement of conventional batterer counseling. How could that be? Our findings about the reassault trends and the repeat reassaulters, moreover, suggest the need for more system development. More needs to be done before and after batterer programs as part of this process. The emphasis on system development contrasts with the heightened attention on new counseling approaches and innovations.

This concluding chapter ...

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