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Test of the Efficacy of Court-Mandated Counseling for Domestic Violence Offenders: The Broward Experiment

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2000
300 pages
This study examined the effectiveness of court-mandated counseling in reducing repeat violence among men convicted of misdemeanor violence among the 404 men convicted of this offense in the Broward County (Fla.) Courthouse between May 1 and September 30, 1997.
The research used a classical experimental design and randomly assigned the participants into an experimental group, which received 1 year of probation and 6 months of court-mandated counseling, or a control group, which received 1 year of probation only. The study followed these individuals for 12 months in the community. Information came from offender self-reports, victim reports, and official measures on minor and severe abuse, probation violations, and rearrests. The analysis considered both treatment assigned and treatment received, because a participant could be assigned to treatment and not go or not be assigned to counseling and go to it. Results indicated no significant differences between the groups in their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors regarding domestic assault. The experimental and control groups were equally likely to engage in both minor and severe partner abuse, according to offender self-reports and victim reports. Furthermore, no significant differences existed between the two groups in official measures of recidivism such as probation violations and rearrests. Nevertheless, a close analysis revealed that completing the batterers’ program reduced the likelihood of probation violations and rearrests for both those in the experimental and control conditions. However, this gain was offset by the increased likelihood of violation of probation and arrests that were associated with assignment into the counseling group. Tables, appended program and study materials and instrument, and 127 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2000