BATTERER’S INTERVENTION PROGRAM
What is our Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP)?
Our agency is proud to be a certified provider by the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. SEE: www.icadvinc.org/batterers-intervention-programs
Ongoing monitoring by independent victim advocates is mandatory for any ICADV certified program. Monitoring is the most important method by which a program remains open and responsive to the perspective of victims of domestic violence. We are again proud to have certified monitors on staff who audit other programs and that our program is overseen by certified monitors from peer agencies.
Our 26-week program for men who batter is a key initiative to establish accountability for actions. It teaches that violence is rooted in a desire to have control. We think it is very important to stress that the abuse in a battering relationship consists of more than isolated episodes of physical violence. We define abuse as any behavior which controls or dominates another person; or inhibits another from making an independent choice. This may include lying, isolating, name-calling, or other verbal abuse. We name violence as any behavior which causes fear in another person. This may include threats, yelling, sexual mistreatment, or outright physical violence. An important feature of these definitions is that the intention of the one doing the abuse doesn’t matter. It is the experience of being afraid or of being controlled that names an action as violent or abusive.
The men are required to sign a release giving us the right to share the record of their attendance at the BIP sessions with pertinent resources as the justice system. Due to our confidentiality policy, we cannot answer questions about what an individual has discussed in group. The only exception will be when we think an immediately dangerous situation exists. At that time, we will attempt to warn those whom we perceive to be in danger. For BIP to be effective, men need to do the program for themselves rather than as a means to keep a relationship intact or to gain custody of children.
Is BIP therapy or anger management?
The Crisis Connection, Inc. Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP) is facilitated by men and women who are committed to working toward the goal of ending men’s violence and abuse against their partners. We do not offer therapy or counseling, their role is closer to that of a teacher. We present information which can help men end their abusive and violent behavior. Batterers’ Intervention is much more than anger management.
Anger Management v. Batterer’s Intervention
Comparing apples to apples:
|Typical Anger Management||Batterer’s Intervention|
|Can the program be State-certified?||No||Yes|
|Who is served by this program?||Anyone, the program is generic||Program is specifically designed for domestic batterers only|
|How many sessions are in the program?||Typically 4-8||Indiana law requires 26|
|Does program stay in contact with the “victim”?||No||Yes|
|Is program monitored by a state agency?||No||Yes|
|Is program affiliated or linked with a battered women’s agency?||No||Yes|
|Does program assess batterers for lethality?||No||Yes|
|What is the emphasis of the program?||Participants are taught to use “techniques” to manage their “anger”||Participants are taught to recognize how their choice to be abusive affects their partner and their children. They look at their basic beliefs about violence and learn alternatives to violence.|
|Are facilitators required to be certified including 100 hours of formal education and then annually obtain 10 hours of specialized domestic violence and batterers’ intervention continuing education?||No||Yes|
|Is the program monitored by state-certified victim advocate monitors?||No||Yes|
Anger tends to be a very misunderstood and maligned emotion. Anger is a secondary emotion which often follows fear, depression, stress, fatigue, or a perceived threat or personal attack on one’s personhood. The situation which causes the anger is not the problem; the unhealthy response is the problem.
- Anger management programs may assess at intake for participant competence in four areas: emotional intelligence, stress management, anger management, and communication skills. Many anger management classes are designed to teach skills in these areas only.
- Anger management is extremely inappropriate for domestic abusers if it is the only treatment/counseling the abuser will be receiving.
- Anger management is appropriate for perpetrators of stranger or non-intimate partner violence, road rage, simple battery, and workplace violence.
- Traditional couples counseling, family therapy and mediation are also inappropriate as the primary intervention for batterers. Domestic violence is not a symptom of a disturbed, individual relationship: domestic violence is a crime.
In contrast, domestic batterer’s intervention programs focus on male socialization, female socialization, substance abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, male domination, the impact of domestic violence on the individual, family and community, and personal responsibility for the choices the participant has made.
- Batterer’s Intervention is a deliberate and purposeful intervention designed to interrupt the cycle of violence. The classes are specific and structured. Batterer’s Intervention does not focus on saving relationships, but on ending violence.
- Although some batterers will benefit greatly from concurrent participation in either substance abuse treatment and/or therapy for a mental disorder, these programs should never be expected to replace Batterer’s Intervention: they were not designed to do so.
- Victims are contacted by the victim’s advocates on a regular schedule while the abuser is in program in an effort to detect any resumption of violent behavior. The safety of the victim and any children is a major concern of the batterer’s intervention team.
Abusive men, for the most part, will not change their behavior without some kind of outside, structured, mandatory intervention. Batterer’s Intervention seeks to teach perpetrators to learn to be a person who is safe to be around again
What are the topics of discussion?
The curriculum for the BIP discussion groups was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Duluth, MN. SEE: www.theduluthmodel.org The following topics are covered during the group:
- Non-violence v. physical violence
- Non-threatening behavior v. using intimidation
- Respect v. using emotional abuse
- Trust & support v. using isolation
- Honesty & accountability v. minimizing, denying & blaming
- Sexual respect v. using sexual abuse
- Partnership v. using economic abuse, male privilege & using children
- Negotiation & fairness v. coercion & threats
It also includes: *definition of domestic violence *dynamics of power and control *socialization, including gender roles and equality *effects on children *parenting after violence *responsibility for past and future abusive behaviors *relationship between substance abuse, mental illness, and acts of violence with a distinction that there is not a cause and effect relationship *challenging the beliefs the promote abusive behavior *nonviolent alternatives
All group participants are expected to prepare for each session and participate in all discussions.
Will he change?
There is no guarantee that the men in this program will change. A man can only change if he chooses to do so. In most cases, a man enters our program because he has seen some consequences for his violence. Whether or not any change in his behavior is possible will depend on two things: his willingness to accept responsibility for his behavior and the fear he has caused, and his willingness to give up the pattern of being in control of the relationship.
You may be wondering if it is possible for a man to change his abusive/violent behavior. The answer is yes, but it may take a long time, and only a victim can be the judge of whether his behavior is still abusive/ controlling.
The following questions may help evaluate a situation:
- Has he acknowledged the acts of violence and the pattern of abuse and control towards me?
- Has he stopped being violent towards me?
- Are there threats implied in his words or movements?
- Am I still afraid when we are together?
- Am I able to disagree with him without fear?
- Am I able to act independently of him without hassles?
- Does he express feelings other than anger?
- Is he able to express anger without being abusive?
- Does he realize that he is at risk of becoming physically violent in the future?
- Does he respect my feelings, boundaries and sexual wishes?
- Do I feel safe?
Please contact our agency to obtain factual information on enrollment.
A few last thoughts…
It is common for men attending BIP to turn information obtained from the program around to meet their goal of control. If a situation arises where he says a BIP facilitator said something and it does not make sense to you or seem appropriate, please feel free to call Crisis Connection to verify what we teach.
The following are things that will NEVER be said to a man in our program:
- “Your partner needs counseling if you are to end your abusiveness/violence.”
- “Your behavior is not that bad, you don’t really need to be here.”
- “After BIP you’ll be cured of being violent.”
- “Your partner has to (anything, you fill in the blank) to support your efforts.”
It is our responsibility to warn that class/group attendance is not a guarantee that his behavior of using controlling tactics will end. Research has shown that sometimes there may even be an increase in threats and emotional abuse after men attend a batterers’ group. Many men attend after their partner has left or has threatened to leave with the goal of winning them back. If a relationship is reestablished or continues, some men never implement the things they’ve learned or attempt to change their behavior and the cycle of abuse/ violence continues. Therefore, we urge victims to continue to ensure your safety and the safety of your children by staying in contact with our Victim Advocates.
Is there a program for female batterer’s?
Yes, our agency also offers a program for females who batter entitled Domestic Abuse Intervention Program (DAIP).