Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 8. Intervention Programs

Section 13 — What effect do batterer intervention program referrals have on victims?

Studies find that most victims are satisfied with their abuser's referral to a batterer intervention program. In the Bronx study, 77 percent of victims were satisfied with the case outcome if the abuser was ordered to attend a program, compared to only 55 percent of victims who were satisfied when the abuser was not required to attend a program. [145] A survey of victims of men attending batterer intervention programs throughout Rhode Island found most female victims enthusiastic about the batterer programs. Some victims who were enthusiastic were reassaulted but still felt that the program improved their situation. [140] Program enrollment may also influence victims to remain with their abusers. Victims are more likely to remain with their abusers if their abusers are in treatment programs and are hopeful that the abusers will "get better." [58, 81]

Implications for Prosecutors and Judges

Prosecutors, judges, other court personnel and batterer intervention programs should warn victims that batterers' attendance at these programs does not ensure the cessation of abuse during or after the program. (Research basis: Consistent findings of victim surveys in multiple settings across the country as well as a control study of victims whose abusers were not sent to a batterer program.)

Bottom Line: On the whole, unless batterer intervention programs are closely monitored and program compliance is rigorously enforced, batterer intervention programs may be ineffective and give false hope to victims.

Date Created: June 5, 2009