Court-Ordered Treatment Programs: An Evaluation of Batterers Anonymousedit
Programs designed to change the attitudes and behaviors of abusive men have existed in the United States for more than three decades. In the early to mid-1990s, spurred by shifts in societal attitudes about and legal responses to domestic violence, local jurisdictions saw a dramatic increase in the number of these programs. Primarily delivered in group settings to men mandated to attend, batterer intervention programs (BIPs) now serve thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of offenders each year whose abusive acts toward their partners have landed them in the criminal justice system. Judges have come to rely on such programs, often delivered by community agencies and paid for by participant fees, as alternatives to incarceration, punishment, means of holding offenders accountable for their actions, and treatment. The extent to which BIPs are used for each of these purposes varies with the particular philosophical stances and political interests of each jurisdiction’s stakeholders. Because so many communities have made BIPs an integral part of their response to domestic violence, and because the safety of families is a primary goal of the intervention, the stakes areIntroduction 229 BIPs in Historical Context 230 Models of Intervention 231 BIP Evaluations 234 Predictors of Program Success and Failure 236 Current State of the Field 237 Standards 239 The Future of BIPs: Recommendations From the Literature 240 Conclusion 242 References 242high for these services. As such, BIPs have been studied extensively in the last 15 years. Without question, services have expanded nationwide. Yet, in spite of the numerous examinations of BIPs, there remains little in the way of strong empirical evidence of what strategies are effective in changing attitudes and behaviors, reducing recidivism, and increasing victim and family safety. This paper will provide a brief history of the BIP; an overview of the current state of the field; current controversies among service providers, researchers, and criminal justice professionals; and a review of what renowned researchers and practitioners in the field foresee as the future of the BIP.