Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges
Published June 2009
Chapter 7. Judicial Responses
Section 17 — Does probation supervision of abusers reduce the likelihood of reabuse?
A few studies of probation supervision of abusers have been conducted. A quasi-experimental study across the state of Rhode Island found that those abusers who were supervised in a specialized domestic violence probation program — featuring victim contact, slightly more intensive supervision of abusers (twice a month), intensive monitoring of mandated batterer intervention programs, and probation officers who volunteered to supervise these caseloads — were significantly less likely to commit new offenses and abuse within one year, but this applied only to those probationers who had not been on probation previously. [137, 141]
Although specialized domestic violence courts often involve specialized probation supervision programs, probation's contribution to these courts' successes (and failures) has not been studied separately. The cumulative effect of probation monitoring and counseling completion has been found to significantly lower recidivism.  Another researcher has found that enhanced domestic-violence supervision programs have reduced re-offending compared to non-enhanced supervision. 
Implications for Judges
Specialized supervision of abusers may help reduce reabuse. (Research basis: Tentative findings based on only limited studies.)