History of ADA

In 1986 David J.H. Garvin MSW, LMSW, founded the Alternatives to Domestic Aggression (ADA) Program in Toledo, Ohio. In 1987, ADA became concurrently located with CSSW in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ADA was founded on the premise that service providers must have absolute conceptual clarity (pdf) (Garvin, 2003) regarding the strategic and instrumental behavior of men who batter their intimate partners. Utilizing that clarity, group co-facilitators are well trained to address the batterers’ behavior, which is designed and tailored to effectively coercively control (Stark, 2007) their intimate partners. The framework of group co-facilitators’ approach to intervention is the progressive deconstruction of the service participants’ entitlement to male privilege. By unapologetically, thoroughly, strategically, logically, and consistently confronting the service participants’ sense of entitlement, the group co-facilitators are also encouraging and promoting the service participants’ process of establishing accountability for their behaviors.

Within ADA, accountability is a personal journey and defined as: “Actions toward or involving others that reflect the integrity of the person I want to be.” This parallel process of confrontation and encouragement takes place over 52 sessions, in a four tiered group process.  The four groups include:  Discovery, Foundations, Tactics, and Options. During the initial Discovery group service participants answer the question, “Do I have a reason to be in this program? (pdf)” This exercise not only provides a basis for subsequent program sections, it allows for and accommodates the resistance that many service participants initially bring to ADA. Accountability is a key theme throughout the entire program and is built on the understanding of the “Bases and Domains of Accountability (pdf).”


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