Batterers Intervention Programs: What Works?

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FISA Foundation has always recognized sexual assault and domestic violence as serious health issues that disproportionally affect women, girls and people with disabilities. Over the past fifteen years, we have awarded many grants to provide assistance to victims, to provide education and risk-reduction programming, and to challenge community attitudes about these crimes. FISA is very proud to be a lead sponsor of STANDING FIRM: The Business Case to End Partner Violence (www.standingfirmswpa.com. But the foundation’s board recognized that none of these efforts attempt to address batterers and sex offenders.

In response, FISA Foundation commissioned a literature review on The Effectiveness of Batterer Intervention Programs. The report (March 2011), prepared by Patricia Cluss, PhD, and Alina Bodea, MD, MPH at the University of Pittsburgh, provides a complete review of the research literature as well as recommendations for next steps. Its findings are cause for deep concern: “There is very little or no empirically demonstrated effectiveness of the widely available group interventions, i.e., group programs for men, employing psychoeducational and/or cognitive behavioral approaches. Programs have at best very modest results.” (p. 15)

FISA Foundation is using this research report to initiate conversation with stakeholders to discuss the implications of the report. If the research has not documented the effectiveness of current treatment approaches for batterers, then we need to acknowledge that and explore other options for holding offenders accountable. You may download a copy of the abridged report or contact the office for more information.

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