Intervention Strategies

Domestic violence and drug and alcohol problems must be dealt with comprehensively.

Domestic violence is criminal behavior and should be vigorously sanctioned by law.

Batterer intervention services are one aspect of the larger network necessary to remediate domestic violence.

Batterer intervention services must be monitored by women survivors/women’s shelters/the feminist community.

The highest priority of batterer intervention services is to promote women and children’s safety, empowerment and rights. Delivery of intervention services to batterers is always secondary to the empowerment and safety of women and children.

Couples therapy is generally an inappropriate, ineffective, and unsafe intervention activity with batterers. It may be appropriate once the batterer has demonstrated accountability, the (ex)partner feels an acceptable degree of safety, she freely chooses this as an option, and it is clearly stated by the therapist that couples therapy is not being conducted to stop the violence. This option should always be in conjunction with, and secondary to, the man’s involvement in an accountable batterer intervention service.

Batterer intervention services must NEVER advocate for batterers in the legal arena.

“Anger management” theory and methods are never appropriate for use in batterer intervention services as they do not accurately reflect the cause of battering and are a reflection of the batterers’ desire to camouflage his choice to batter. Further, anger management theory suggests provocation, fails to account for premeditation, diffuses responsibility, implies that there is a quick fix, misrepresents the depth of the problem in the community, and fully misses the link to the larger issue of sexism and patriarchy.

Batterer intervention services must create and implement self-monitoring mechanisms that work to minimize batterers’ ability to use the program as leverage against the survivors of their battering and/or the community intervention network.

Battering is illegal. Battering is a preventable crime. Courts have sanctions available to impact domestic violence. Batterers need to be held accountable for their choices. Intervention services for batterers must not be used as a substitute for arrest, conviction, probation, incarceration, or other legal sanctions.

Because all men benefit from the violent and controlling tactics of batterers, all men must work to end it and to safeguard it’s victims.

Battering will not cease because a batterer gets sober/straight or “works a good drug/alcohol recovery program.”

Family and couples intervention modalities for drug and alcohol problems are not appropriate, initially, for batterers.

Batterers in drug and alcohol treatment typically do not divulge their battering, nor will their partners/survivors.

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon are not a suitable substitute for an accountable, competent batterer intervention service.

Waiting one year in recovery to refer for batterer intervention work is not clinically appropriate.

Addiction/alcoholism recovery activities and requirements are frequently used by the batterer to manipulate and abuse his partner/family.

Accountability for battering is a lifelong process.

This information was gathered primarily from Barbara Hart and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 2505 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1111, 1.800.537.2238