After providing an overview of batterer intervention programs and their evaluations, this study assessed the methodologies and findings of evaluations of two batterer intervention programs in Broward County, FL, and Brooklyn, NY.
In the Broward County study, no significant differences were found between batterers in the treatment and control groups on reoffense rates or attitudes toward domestic violence. In the Brooklyn study, men who completed an 8-week treatment program had outcomes no different from the control group; however, men who completed a 26-week program had significantly fewer official complaints against them than the control group. No difference was found among the three groups in attitudes toward domestic violence. Both evaluation studies had low response rates; many people dropped out of the program; and victims could not be found for subsequent interviews. The tests used to measure batterers' attitudes toward domestic violence and their likelihood of committing future violence against their partners were of questionable validity. Random assignment was significantly overridden in the Brooklyn study, which made it difficult to attribute effects exclusively to the program. This analysis concludes that it is too early to abandon the concept of batterer intervention programs. Clearly, program design and implementation need to be improved, as do evaluation methodologies. Improved theories of battering must precede new responses that will require testing. Rigorous evaluations must encompass both the process of program implementation and valid outcomes. 23 notes and 5 exhibits
Date Published: June 1, 2003