I work with both survivors AND offenders of domestic violence. I can work with offenders because I believe in change. I believe that domestic violence (psychopaths excluded) is a learned behavior that can be corrected — if the desire is there. For many years, there has been a backlash towards those who do work in the batterer intervention field. Studies have been performed that many said showed that there had not been significant change for those who had entered into programs. In reality…; it is all in the way that one chooses to look at the numbers…
Matt, our Program Director, went to the Northwest Association of DV Treatment Professionals annual conference and came into the office with an even larger bounce in his step than normal. Edward Goldolf (Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute at Indiana University of Pennsylvania) presented some fabulous findings from multi-site evaluation conducted at 4 well established BI programs and when looked at properly, one (if you are prone to it) can get giddy:
- De-escalation of re-assault over time— 80% NO re-assault in previous year at 30 mos.!!!!!
Verbal abuse declined from 82% to 44% !!!!!!!!!!! (this is where DVSD comes in.)
The other major abuse categories declined from 61% to 19%, 50% to 19%, and 36% to 10%!!!
A majority of women stated that they felt “better off” now after partner treatment, 84% of partners felt like they were very unlikely to be hit 48 months after partner treatment, 85% of partners stated that they “feel very safe” 48 months after partner treatment.
The number of men (without partner contact) who were in a program and re-assaulted was 33% less than the men who dropped out of the program (within 3 months) and re-assaulted. With partner contact, that decrease was 40%. It’s like the gym; it only works if you attend.
Only 60% of courts required a client’s compliance with the BIP. Imagine if the BIPs had more support of more courts!
Only half of probationers completed required BIP. Imagine if more probation departments followed through!
So… what does that say? To many it has said “abuse still occurs even after treatment” but when one really looks at the data…. 80% OF THE BI PARTICIPANTS DID NOT RE-OFFEND after 30 months with continued treatment!!!
I have never been accused of being a Pollyanna… but this really excited me and bolstered my beliefs that people can change. Because the verbal abuse did not reduce as much as the physical, I believe that restorative justice interventions, such as DVSD, are crucial in helping reframe the emotional abuse that has occurred.