RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
RHODE ISLAND
Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee
August 4, 1998 with Technical Revision of February, 1999

 BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM STANDARDS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE



Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION 3
STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES 3
RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 5
SECTION A.  COMPREHENSIVE CERTIFICATION 5
SECTION B.  PROVISIONAL CERTIFICATION 10
SECTION C.  POST-ENROLLMENT CERTIFICATION 13
SECTION D.  APPEALS 14
SECTION E.  COMPLAINTS 16
SECTION F.  VARIANCES 18
SECTION G.  COURTESY CERTIFICATION FOR OUT OF STATE PROGRAMS 19
SECTION H.  PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF RULES 20
SECTION I. BY-LAWS 21
APPENDICES 24
A. Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5 24
B. Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5.1-3. 24
C. Batterers Intervention Program Comprehensive Certification Application. 24
D. Batterers Intervention Program Initial Certification Application. 24
E. Complaint Log. 24
F. Statement of Conflict of Interest. 24

INTRODUCTION   Page   3

STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES Page   3

RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE Page   3
 SECTION A. Comprehensive Certification    5
 SECTION B. Provisional Certification  10
 SECTION C. Post-Enrollment Certification  13
 SECTION D. Appeals  14
 SECTION E. Complaints  16
 SECTION F. Variances  18
 SECTION G. Courtesy Certification for Out of State Programs  19
 SECTION H. Petition for Adoption of Rules  20
 SECTION I. By-Laws  21
 

APPENDICES   Page 24
APPENDIX A.  Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5  25
APPENDIX B.  Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5.1-3   27
APPENDIX C.  Batterers Intervention Program Comprehensive
   Certification Application  30
APPENDIX D.  Batterers Intervention Program Initial Certification
  Application 39
APPENDIX E.  Complaint Log  45
APPENDIX F.  Statement of Conflict of Interest  46

 Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee



RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
 

INTRODUCTION

These rules of practice and procedure ("Rules") are adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (RIGL Title 42, Chapter 35) for the purpose of assisting the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee ("Committee") in carrying out the functions, powers, and duties assigned to it by statutory authority (Domestic Violence Prevention Act, RIGL  §12-29-5 and  §12-29-5.1-3).  Issues not addressed in these Rules or for which a  party seeks clarification are to be considered in the context of RIGL Title 12, Chapter 29.

These Rules shall govern the conduct of business by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee from the date of their adoption. All practices and procedures shall be conducted in accordance with the By-Laws of the Committee; additional Rules shall apply to specified situations.  Should a question arise as to the precise interpretation of any of these Rules, the Rules shall be literally construed to further the fair, prompt, and orderly administration of the Committee's duties and decisions.  To the extent that any part of these Rules are inconsistent with applicable law, the applicable law shall be deemed to apply.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Section §12-29-5 of the Rhode Island General Laws requires that every person convicted of or placed on probation for a crime involving domestic violence or whose case is filed pursuant to Section §12-10-12 where the defendant pleads nolo contendere, in addition to any other sentence imposed or counseling ordered, shall be ordered by the judge to attend, at his or her own expense, appropriate to address his or her violent behavior, a batterers intervention program. The statute goes on to define batterers intervention program as a program which is certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee according to minimum standards, effective January 1, 1998.

The Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee was established and authorized in Section §12-29-5.1 of the Rhode Island General Laws. The Committee consists of thirteen (13) members to be appointed as follows:


This statute (§12-29-5.2) has established the duties and responsibilities of the Committee as follows:

To establish and promulgate minimum standards for batterers intervention programs serving persons mandated pursuant to section §12-29-5, revise such standards as is deemed necessary, and make such standards available to the public, provided that such standards shall include but not be limited to the following:

(1) Batterers intervention programs shall be conducted in the context of psycho-educational groups, i.e., groups of domestic violence perpetrators led by one or more professional group leaders trained and experienced in batterers intervention programming and conducted for the purposes of learning and enacting non-abusive behaviors through didactic instruction, interaction among participants and leaders, and teaching of skills within the groups; and
(2) The duration of batterers intervention programs shall be a minimum of forty (40) contact hours over the course of twenty (20) weeks; and
(3) Batterers intervention programs shall require that all mandated batterers pay fees for the program in accordance with the provisions of Section §12-29-5, provided however, that programs shall accommodate varying levels of ability to pay means of sliding fee scales and may elect to offer alternatives to payment in the form of community service and/or deferred payment for a portion of the fees.
? To monitor and review batterers intervention programs seeking certification with respect to compliance with such standards, including periodic on-site review.
? To certify those batterers intervention programs which are in compliance with the standards established pursuant to Section §12-29-5.2(a).
? To investigate and decide appeals, complaints, requests for variances, and post-enrollment certification applications.

The Committee is authorized to establish and appoint such subcommittees, task forces, focus groups, and advisory committees as it deems necessary from time to time to carry out its duties.  The Committee shall promulgate its rules of procedure governing its operations in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 35 of Title 42 of the Rhode Island General Laws.
 Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee
Rules of Practice and Procedure
page 5



RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

SECTION A.  COMPREHENSIVE CERTIFICATION

Definition: Comprehensive certification is the process by which batterers intervention programs are certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee as being in Compliance with the comprehensive standards for such programs. Certification is based upon representations by the program, with monitoring of selected standards for verification by the Oversight Committee.

Description: Applications from programs seeking to be certified as batterers intervention programs for mandated offenders are screened for compliance with the comprehensive standards by the Review Subcommittee, which attempts to resolve any incomplete, unclear, or contradictory applications. Following a review of submitted documents, the Review Subcommittee conducts on-site visits to review additional documents and facility features, as well as to observe batterers groups. Consideration will be given to Action Plans for timely compliance with some non-safety Standards. Summaries and recommendations for each program are presented to the Oversight Committee, which makes decisions relative to certification

Procedures

1 . Any interested  person, agency, or program may apply for comprehensive certification as a batterers intervention program for court mandated domestic violence offenders. Applications are available through the Designated Chair of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee: Sisan Smallman, Assistant Probation and Parole Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903; telephone: (401) 458-3045

2. Programs that currently have comprehensive or provisional certification must submit a completed application for comprehensive certification at least three (3) months prior to the expiration date of the current period of certification in order to avoid a lapse in certification status. Comprehensive certification shall also be required for interested programs that are applying for certification for the first time; that have had certification denied or revoked; or that have had certification suspended for longer than three (3) months without successfully being reinstated upon completion of accepted Action Plan(s).

Programs that are not currently certified or that for other reasons do not have groups actively running, may apply for provisional certification (see Section B) in order to become eligible for referrals of mandated clients. Provisional certification is based exclusively on the representations of an applicant that it meets the three (3) statutory minimum standards.  Provisional certification under these circumstances shall remain effective until the program shall have completed comprehensive certification or until six (6) months following the date of provisional certification, whichever date shall come first.

3. Programs applying for comprehensive certification are required to complete the Batterers Intervention Program Comprehensive Certification Application, and to attach specified documents. Each application must be signed by the program director or other authorized official.

4. A Review Subcommittee shall be established, consistent with provisions of the By-Laws, for the purpose of reviewing documents and conducting on-site program reviews in connection with certification applications. Membership of the Subcommittee shall be subject to review and approval by the Oversight Committee.  Individuals who are affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall not serve on the Review Subcommittee. Furthermore, individuals who have a personal relationship with or interest in a program or individual associated with a particular program, or who have any other potential conflict of interest regarding a particular program, shall inform the Subcommittee facilitator and shall not participate in the application review process for that program.

5. The Review Subcommittee shall conduct preliminary screening of the applications, reviewing submitted documents to ascertain whether the program represents itself as meeting each of the three (3) statutory minimum standards, as set forth in RIGL §12-29-5.2 (2) (1) through (3) and as detailed in the comprehensive standards. Any program that does not present sufficient documentary evidence of meeting each of the three (3) statutory minimum standards shall be notified by the Review Subcommittee that its application shall not be further considered until such time as it does present such evidence. Clarification of incomplete or contradictory information shall be sought from the program when appropriate.

6. For each applicant passing the initial screening, the Review Subcommittee shall select a representative sample of standards to verify in submitted documents.

7. Following review of submitted documents, the Review Subcommittee shall select a representative sample of standards to verify in on-site visits for each applicant. On-site monitoring may include attendance at batterers groups, observation of the facility, and review of program documents (including client files, personnel records, policy and procedure manuals, resource library, research and data collection, complaint log, and other program records).

8. The program shall be expected to provide reasonable access for on-site monitoring.  Monitors shall provide reasonable notice and flexibility with respect to scheduling monitoring visits, including giving due consideration to a request to reschedule attendance at a particular group or a visit to a particular site. When making on-site visits, monitors shall identify themselves to program staff, shall conduct themselves in a professional manner, and shall minimize disruption of program functions.

9. Batterers group observation: For each applicant, monitors shall attend and observe a minimum of two (2) sessions of a particular group, both sessions being led by the same facilitator or team of facilitators. For programs that offer seven (7) or more separate groups per week, monitors shall attend and observe a minimum of two (2) sessions for each of two (2) separate groups, as scheduling permits. Any facilitator(s) leading groups on of a program shall be eligible for selection for  group observation.

Monitors shall be identified to group participants as representatives of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee. The monitorsí visits shall be explained as being for the purpose of ensuring community safety and quality programming for all participants. Apart from the explanation, monitors shall not participate in the group process. Discussion between facilitators or participants and the monitors shall be deferred to non-group time. Monitors shall recognize that the group process is extremely complex, and shall seek clarification of observations, when appropriate, through later discussion with the facilitator(s) and/or with program officials.

10. When conducting document and on-site reviews, monitors shall note tangible instances of compliance or non-compliance with standards. It is expected that not every applicable standard shall be observed In particular documents, facility visits, or group sessions.

11. Action Plans: While compliance with all of the comprehensive standards is mandatory, programs may propose an Action Plan or Plans to address certain  deficiencies involving non-compliance with standards that do not have immediate impact on victim safety.  Those standards for which an Action Plan is not acceptable to correct deficiencies are so noted on the Comprehensive Certification Application.

Action Plans must specify the nature of the deficiency, with reference to all standards involved; the plan to correct the deficiency; the person(s) responsible; the date of projected readiness; and how compliance can be verified. Information shall be specific and detailed.

Action Plans shall be considered by the Review Subcommittee and Oversight Committee as part of deliberations about each program. Certification may or may not be precluded by non-compliance that is being addressed through reasonable Action Plan(s); certification decisions shall be made based on review of the program as a whole with respect to the comprehensive standards.

12. The Review Subcommittee shall convene to review all program applications, including the Comprehensive Certification Application, submitted documents, the results of on-site visits, and monitors' observations and recommendations. Every effort shall be made to ensure that at least two (2) Subcommittee members shall have been involved in on-site review of each particular program. The Subcommittee shall give particular attention to each apparent deficiency, determining to the extent feasible whether it is an isolated problem needing on-going monitoring; whether a complaint investigation is warranted; whether an Action Plan is appropriate/ needed/ proposed; and whether the nature or extent of the problem is likely to impact certification. The Review Subcommittee shall produce and present to the Oversight Committee a summary report of its findings for each applicant with respect to compliance ant non-compliance with standards.

13. Oversight Committee votes regarding certification of programs shall be conducted in accordance with Committee By-Laws.  Prior to the Committee discussing or voting on pending certification applications, any member (or designee or alternate) of the Oversight Committee and its Subcommittees who is affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall recuse him/ herself from any discussion, participation, or vote, and shall complete a statement of conflict of interest and file it with the Oversight Committee as well as forwarding a copy to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.

14. The Oversight Committee (minus recusals) shall have the opportunity to discuss each pending application. The full application package and supporting documents shall be available for review by the Committee, if desired. Based upon representations of the program and upon verification of selected standards by Subcommittee monitors, actions by the Committee can include (but are not limited to) the following:
 


15. A program that has been certified as a batterers intervention program shall be eligible to receive referrals of batterers whose domestic violence cases are adjudicated or filed in accordance with the terms of RIGL §12-29-5. Certification does not constitute licensure of facilities, practitioners, or other services that may be offered by the program or agency, nor does certification guarantee or imply a guarantee of referrals or monetary support.

16. Each batterers intervention program shall be responsible for notifying the Oversight  Committee of significant changes in its program principles and goals, curriculum,  format, staffing, or other areas that impact compliance with the comprehensive standards.

17. Comprehensive certification of batterers intervention programs shall remain in effect until recertification, which shall occur within a period of two (2) years of the date of comprehensive certification; provided, however, that the Oversight Committee shall confirm that a certified program is not in compliance with the comprehensive standards, the Oversight Committee shall reserve the right to revoke or suspend certification, and/or shall reserve the right to require that continued certification be contingent on verified completion of Action an(s) or other means by which the program shall come into compliance within a specified time.

18. Within five (5) business days following a vote with respect to certification of any particular batterers intervention program, the Committee shall send written notice of the decision to the program.  Notice of a decision that would result in the loss of a current program's eligibility for referrals (i.e., denial or suspension of certification for a currently certified program, or deferral of a decision for a program whose current certification shall have expired within 30 days following the date of the decision) shall be sent to the program by certified mail, return receipt requested. The written notice shall include a statement of the reason(s) for the decision or deferral by the Committee. The Committee Chair shall notify Rhode Island courts and Adult Probation that referrals of mandated batterers to programs whose certification has been suspended or denied shall cease, effective on the date of the signature on the return receipt.

19. The Committee Chair shall promulgate lists of all certified batterers intervention programs at least twice yearly, and within 30 days following any changes in program eligibility. The Chair shall notify Rhode Island courts, Adult Probation, and other interested parties of all programs that are eligible for referrals of mandated batterers.



SECTION B.  PROVISIONAL CERTIFICATION

Definition: Pending development and promulgation of comprehensive standards for batterers intervention programs, the Committee sought to meet the statutory obligation to certify program by January 1,1998, by means of provisional certification of batterers intervention programs, based exclusively on the three (3) statutory minimum standards. Provisional certification (also referred to as "initial certification") is subject to certain limitations, as indicated below. As specified in Section A, provisional certification is applicable under certain circumstances for programs that do not have groups actively running, in order to become eligible for referrals of mandated clients.

Description: Applications from programs for which provisional certification is appropriate are screened for compliance with the three (3) statutory minimum standards by the Review Subcommittee, which attempts to resolve any incomplete, unclear, or contradictory applications. A summary of the program and recommendations are presented to the Oversight Committee, which makes decisions relative to certification.

Procedures:

1. Pending official adoption of the comprehensive standards for batterers programs, any interested person, agency, or program could apply for provisional (or initial) certification as a batterers intervention program for court mandated domestic violence offenders. Program that have not been previously certified, or that for other reasons do not have groups actively running, may apply for provisional certification in order to become eligible for referrals of mandated clients. Applications are available through the Designated Chair of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee: Sisan Smallman, Assistant Probation and Parole Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903. Telephone: (401) 458-3045.

2. Programs applying for provisional certification are required to provide identifying information, as well as documents and information indicated on the Batterers Intervention Program Provisional Certification Application in order to determine compliance with the three (3) statutory minimum standards as set forth in RIGL 12- (a) (1) through (3).

3. Programs applying for provisional certification are requested to provide additional information, as indicated on the application. However, the additional information shall not be used as a basis for certification, and shall not be considered in the certification decision, until formal adoption of comprehensive standards. No program shall be penalized for failing to provide the requested information, nor for information which is provided but which is unrelated to the statutory minimum standards.

4. The process and the contact information for provisional certification shall be advertised in area newspapers. Notice shall also be mailed directly to all known persons, agencies, and programs that provide or have expressed interest in providing batterers intervention.

5.  The Oversight Committee shall establish and appoint a Review Subcommittee, which shall include at least two (2) Oversight Committee members (or their designees or alternates), one of whom shall be selected as the facilitator. Support staffing shall be provided by two (2) Correctional Planners from the Department of Corrections. Consistent with Committee By-Laws, members of the Review Subcommittee shall not include Committee members (or their designees or alternates) who have any affiliation with a batterers intervention program.

6. The Committee Chair shall forward all certification applications to the Review Subcommittee, which shall do preliminary screening of the applications. The Review Subcommittee shall follow up by contacting any program whose certification application is  incomplete, unclear, or contradictory with respect to the three (3) minimum standards; and shall seek to resolve or clarify apparent deficits.

7. The Review Subcommittee shall prepare a summery of each program whose certification application is pending, and shall present the summary to the Oversight Committee at  its next scheduled meeting. The summary shall specify for each applicant program the status with respect to meeting each of the three (3) statutory minimum standards; for programs which appear to have deficits in the program and/or in the application information, the summary shall specify what efforts have beer, made to resolve or clarify issues.  The Review Subcommittee may present a recommendation as part of the summary for each program, including, but not limited to, one of the following:


8. Votes regarding certification of programs shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the Committee By-Laws.

9. Prior to the Committee discussing or voting on pending certification applications, any member (or designee or alternate) of the Oversight Committee and its Subcommittees who is affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall recuse him/ herself from any discussion, participation, or vote, and shall complete a statement of conflict of interest and file it with the Oversight Committee as well as forwarding a copy to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.

10. The Review Subcommittee shall have the full application package available at the Oversight  Committee meeting for each program whose certification application is being considered at that meeting. Committee members shall have the opportunity to review the application and supporting documents, if desired.

11. The Review Subcommittee shall present its summary, and recommendations, if applicable, for each program under consideration. The Committee (minus recusals) shall have the opportunity to discuss the pending application, and shall act upon each pending application. Committee action shall include, but not be limited to, one of the following:


12. A program which has been certified as a batterers intervention program shall be eligible to receive referrals of batterers whose domestic violence cases are adjudicated or filed in accordance with the terms of RIGL § 12-29-5. Certification does not constitute licensure of facilities, practitioners, or other services that may be offered by the program or agency; nor does certification guarantee or imply a guarantee of referrals or monetary support.

13. Provisional (or initial) certification is based exclusively on the representations of an applicant program that it meets the three (3) statutory minimum standards. The Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee shall reserve the right to verify compliance with minimum standards through requesting in-person appearance by program principals before the Oversight Committee, additional documentation, on-site program review (including group session observation), or other means.

14. Consistent with the legislative mandate, the Oversight Committee shall develop a comprehensive set of minimum standards for batterers intervention programs ("comprehensive standards") which shall be adopted and promulgated in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (RIGL Title 42, Chapter 35). Batterers intervention programs which have been granted provisional or initial certification based upon the three (3) statutory minimum standards shall be subject to recertification in accordance with the comprehensive standards.

15. Initial certification of batterers intervention programs that meet the three (3) statutory minimum standards shall remain effective until recertification, which shall occur within a period of six (6) months following adoption of comprehensive standards, or within a period of one (1) year of the date of initial certification, whichever date shall come first; provided, however, that if the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee shall confirm that a certified program is no longer in compliance with the minimum standards, or if the program allows its certification to lapse without successfully seeking recertification the Oversight Committee shall revoke or suspend certification, or shall require that continued certification be contingent on the program coming into verifiable compliance within a specified time.

16. Within five (5) business days following a vote with respect to certification of any particular batterers intervention program, the Committee shall send written notice of the decision to the program. Notice of any decision which would result in a loss of the programís eligibility for referrals (i.e., denial of certification or tabling of the vote on a previously eligible program whose certification shall have expired within 30 days following the date of the decision) shall be sent to the program by certified mail, return receipt requested. The written notice shall include a statement of the reason(s) for the decision by the Committee.



SECTION C.  POST-ENROLLMENT CERTIFICATION

Definition: Post-enrollment certification applications are defined in RIGL §12-29-5.2 (d), as those applications made to the Committee by a batterer mandated to attend a certified batterers intervention program in accordance with § 12-295 who has, prior to adjudication, enrolled in a program not certified by the Committee.

Description: The procedures for post-enrollment certification application and review by the Oversight Committee are directly comparable to the procedures outlined above for provisional certification. Post-enrolment certification shall be determined on the basis of the three (3) statutory minimum standards.

Procedures:

1. A batterer mandated to attend a certified batterers intervention program who has, prior to adjudication, enrolled in a program not certified by the program, may request that the non-certified program apply for post-enrollment certification. The application process is the same as that described in Section E. 1 through 3, above, for Provisional Certification.

2. The Committee Chair shall forward the post-enrollment application to the Review Subcommittee, which shall do preliminary screening of the application and follow up as needed if the application is incomplete, unclear, or contradictory with respect to the three (3) statutory minimum standards, as set out in RIGL §12-29-5.2 (a) (1)  through (3).

3. The Review Subcommittee shall prepare a summary of the program requesting post-enrollment certification, and shall present the summary to the Oversight Committee at its next scheduled meeting; provided, however, that if there is no meeting scheduled within the next thirty (30) days following receipt of the application, a special meeting shall be called.

4. All other procedures for post-enrollment certification shall be consistent with those described for Provisional Certification, Section B. 7. through B. 16.

5. A program which is granted post-enrollment certification shall be subject to the same entitlements and the same limitations as for provisional certification.



SECTION D.  APPEALS

Definition: An appeal is a request by a program for reconsideration of a decision made by the Oversight Committee with respect to its certification as a batterers intervention program.

Description: Upon notification of action by the Oversight Committee, a program seeking certification as a batterers intervention program may elect to appeal the decision by notifying the committee Chair. An appeal hearing by the Oversight Committee is scheduled within 45 days.

Procedures:

1 . Within five (5) business days following a vote with respect to certification of any particular batterers intervention program, the Committee shall send written notice of the decision to the program.

Notice of any decision which would result in a loss of the program's eligibility for referrals (i.e., denial of certification, or tabling of the vote on a previously eligible program whose certification shall have expired within 30 days following the date of the decision) shall be sent to the program by certified mail, return receipt requested. The written notice shall include a statement of the reason(s) for the decision by the Committee.

2. The Committee Chair shall notify Rhode Island courts and Probation and Parole staff that referrals of mandated batterers to a program whose certification has lapsed or has been denied shall be suspended, effective on the date of the signature on the return receipt or the expiration of existing certification, whichever shall come sooner.

3. If the affected program chooses to appeal the decision of the Committee, the executive director, president, or other official who is empowered to act on behalf of the program shall so notify the Chair of the Committee in writing.

4. Upon receipt of an appeal request, the Committee Chair shall schedule an appeal hearing with the Committee. The date of the appeal hearing shall be the next scheduled meeting of the Committee; provided, however, that if a meeting has not been scheduled within 45 day following receipt of the appeal request, then a special meeting shall be called to hear the appeal.

5. The Committee Chair shall notify the batterers intervention program representative, in writing, of the date of the appeal hearing. The program representative shall be encouraged but not required to attend the hearing.  A copy of any supporting materials the program elects to present shall be requested to be made available to the Chair at least one week in advance of the hearing, whenever feasible. Similarly, the Chair shall make available to the program any materials intended for the hearing which have not already been provided to the program.

6. Prior to the start of the appeal hearing, any member (or designee or alternate) of the Oversight Committee and its Subcommittees who is affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall recuse him/ herself from any discussion, participation, or vote in the matter of the appeal, and shall complete a statement of conflict of interest and file it with the Oversight Committee as well as forwarding a copy to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.

7. In conducting the appeal hearing, the Committee Chair shall review the decision which is under appeal, present the information upon which it was based, and the reason(s) for the decision.  The batterers intervention program shall be offered an opportunity to respond, to rebut, to present additional information or explanations, as its representatives choose. Any interested individual, with the exception of those Committee and Subcommittee members, designees, or alternates required to recuse themselves, shall have the opportunity to participate. The Chair shall moderate the presentations and discussion.

8. Any Committee member/ designee/ or alternate who is empowered to vote shall be permitted to make a motion, and the Chair shall call for a vote. Options shall include, but not be limited to the following: deny certification; grant certification; table decision pending further investigation through on-site visit(s), request for more information, program, coming into compliance with standards within a specified time period, or other; suspend or resume referrals pending final decision; etc.

9. Written notification of the decision in the appeal shall be sent to the program by certified mail, return receipt requested, within five (5) business days of the hearing.



SECTION E.  COMPLAINTS

Definition: A complaint is a formal accusation, charge or report of a problem by a batterer, victim, staff member, referral agent, or any member of the public regarding a batterers intervention program, policy, practice, staff conduct, or other substantive matter related to the standards or to other requirements under law.

Description: Complaints are referred to and reviewed by the Committee Chair. Those not substantiated, or not falling within the purview of the Oversight Committee, shall be referred back to the program. The Review Subcommittee shall investigate appropriate complaints, and shall report back to the Oversight Committee. The Committee Chair and the Review Subcommittee shall make determinations regarding problems that require immediate intervention.

Procedures:

1. The Oversight Committee shall notify all certified batterers intervention programs, domestic violence victims services agencies, the Rhode Island Courts, Adult  Probation and Parole, and other appropriate organizations that individuals or  agencies having a complaint regarding a certified batterers Intervention program may address that complaint directly to the program. In addition, or instead,  individuals or agencies may address a complaint directly to the Oversight  Committee if it involves a certified batterers intervention program policy, practice, staff conduct, or other established program standard, or to other requirements under  law. Such complaints shall be directed to the Committee Chair for initial review.

2. The Chair shall request that any complaint be filed in writing, but this shall not be a requirement. Complainants who elect to remain anonymous, or who do not  provide a written account or other substantiation, shall be informed (when feasible)  that this could impact determination of probable cause or verification of the  complaint circumstances, but that the complaint shall be investigated and acted upon to the extent that it is substantiated. The Chair shall recognize that in some  circumstances, victim safety or program staff security could be compromised by giving up anonymity.

3. If  the Chair determines that there is insufficient information or substantiation to find  probable cause for a complaint, or that a complaint does not fall within the purview  of the Oversight Committee (that is, if it is not directly related to the batterers  intervention program standards or to other requirements under law), it shall be recorded, and no further action shall be taken by the Committee. When  appropriate, the complaint shall be referred back to the program for action.

4.  If the Chair determines that there is probable cause to believe that a complaint has foundation, and that it does fall within the purview of the Committee, the Chair may elect to respond  to the complaint immediately if safety concerns so indicate, or if resolution appears likely with minor  intervention.

5. If the Chair determines that there is probable cause to believe that a complaint has  foundation, and that it does fail within the purview of the Committee, and that further investigation is required and/or that resolution is likely to require substantial intervention, the complaint shall be referred to the Review Subcommittee.

6. Consistent with Committee By-Laws, members of the Review Subcommittee shall not include Committee members (or their designees or alternates) who have any  affiliation with a batterers intervention program.

7. The Review Subcommittee shall review the complaint and shall conduct an investigation, including as appropriate: contacting the program; reviewing the  programís application and supposing documents; interviewing person(s) filling the  complaint and others with knowledge of the complaint circumstances; conducting on-site program reviews, etc.

8. The Review Subcommittee and/or Committee Chair, after concluding the  investigation, shall prepare and submit a report to the Oversight Committee  summarizing the complaint, the standards involved, significant findings, and recommendations on how to proceed. If recommendations include action by the Oversight Committee which would affect the certification status of the program in  question, the program shall be notified of the date and time of the Oversight Committee meeting at which the matter will be presented.

9. At the Oversight Committee meeting, prior to the start of the discussion of a  complaint about a batterers intervention program, any member (or designee or  alternate) of the Oversight Committee and its Subcommittees who is affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall recuse him/ herself from discussion, participation, or vote in the matter of the complaint, and shall complete a statement of conflict of interest and file it with the Oversight Committee as well as forwarding a copy to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.

10. Following presentation of the complaint report, representatives of the program (if present) shall be offered an opportunity to respond, to rebut, to present additional information or explanations, as they choose. Other interested individuals (with the exception of those Committee and Subcommittee members, designees, or Alternates require to recuse themselves) shall have the opportunity to participate. The Chair shall moderate the presentations and discussion.

11. The Oversight Committee shall determine what course of action to take, which could include (but is not limited to) one of the following: dismiss complaint; take no further action; revoke classification for specified reason(s); suspend certification pending specified program modification(s) within a certain time frame; table decision pending specified program modification(s) within a certain time frame; refer the material back to the Review Committee for more information; etc.

12. A log of all complaints small be maintained by the Chair, including those deemed  inappropriate for the Oversight Committee and those complaints resolved by the Chair with minor intervention. A summary of the log shall be presented, and the log shall be available for review, at all scheduled Oversight Committee meetings.



SECTION F.  VARIANCES

Definition: A variance is a donation from general program format and established program standard(s), which is granted by the Oversight Committee in response to a specific request by a batterers intervention program.  A variance is not intended as a means to circumvent existing standards, and must be for  a specific identified purpose.

Description: Under exceptional circumstances, a batterers intervention program may request a variance with respect to an established standard; those standards mandated by statute (RIGL §12-29-5.2), however, shall not be subject to variance. Any variance must be specifically requested by the program, must be justices- by the program, and must be shown to have no detrimental effect on the substance of the program.

Procedures:

1. The executive director, president, or other person who is empowered to act on behalf of a certified batterers intervention program may request a variance by applying in writing to the Committee Chair. The request shall include an explanation of the need and purpose for the variance; the nature of the variance; the standard(s) involved; and justification, which shall project both the expected positive benefit and the lack of detrimental effect of the requested variance. Supporting materials may be included.

2. The variance request shall be incorporated into the agenda for the next scheduled Oversight Committee meeting.  Notice of the meeting shall be sent in writing to the program requesting the variance. The program representative shall be encouraged but not required to attend the meeting.

3. At the Oversight Committee meeting, prior to the start of discussion of a variance request, any member (or designee or alternate) of the Oversight Committee and its Subcommittees who is affiliated with any batterers intervention program shall recuse him/ herself from discussion, participation, or vote in the matter of the variance, and shall complete a statement of conflict of interest and file it with  the Oversight Committee as well as forwarding a copy to the Rhode island Ethics Commission.

4. The Committee Chair shall review the nature of the request and the justification offered. The batterers intervention program seeking the variance shall be offered an opportunity to present any additional information or explanations, and to respond to any questions. Other interested individuals (with the exception of those Committee and Subcommittee members. designees. or alternate required to recuse themselves) shall have the opportunity to participate. The Chair shall moderate the presentations and discussion.

5. Any Committee member (or designee or alternate) who is empowered to vote shall be permitted to make a motion, and the Chair shall call for a vote. Options shall include, but not be limited to, the following: deny the variance, with explanation; grant the variance, specifying any limitations such as period of time, particular circumstances, offender pool, or others; table the decision pending further investigation or information; etc.

6. Written notification of the decision shall be sent to the program within five (5) business days following the Oversight Committee meeting.



SECTION G.  COURTESY CERTIFICATION FOR OUT OF STATE PROGRAMS

Definition: Courtesy certification of programs in other jurisdictions can be requested by  programs that are certified in another jurisdiction, and/or that meet the  statutory minimum standards as outlined in RIGL §12-29-5.2 (a) (1) through  (3). Such courtesy certification is applicable only for individuals who have been adjudicated in Rhode Island and who have been authorized to attend a program in another state.

Descriptjon: Batterers intervention programs that have valid certification (or similar  designation) in jurisdictions that have established standards are  automatically eligible for courtesy certification in Rhode Island. Courtesy  certification for programs in jurisdictions without standards shall be determined on the basis of documented compliance with the three (3)  statutory minimum standards.

Procedures:

1. Any interested person, agency, or program that operates in a state other than Rhode Island, and that seeks to serve one or more batterers who are mandated by RIGL §12-29-5 to attend a program certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee, may request courtesy certification.

2. If the other state or jurisdiction has established standards for batterers intervention programs, qualifying programs within that jurisdiction shall automatically be eligible for courtesy certification in Rhode Island. Courtesy certification shall be conferred upon presentation to the Oversight Committee of credible evidence of the programís certification (or similar designation) in the other jurisdiction.

3. Programs in jurisdictions that do not have standards for batterers intervention programs may apply for courtesy certification by completing an application and submitting documents that indicate the program complies with the three (3) statutory minimum standards as set forth in RIGL §12-29-5.2 (a) (1) through (3). Applications are available through the Designated Chair of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee: Sisan Smallman, Assistant Probation and Parole Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence, RI 02903. Telephone: (401) 458-3045.

4. Requests for courtesy certification shall be screened by the Review Subcommittee and presented to the Oversight Committee in accordance with established procedures.

5. Court certification shall only be applicable for individuals who have been adjudicated in Rhode Island and who have been permitted by authority of a Rhode Island court or by Rhode Island Probation and Parole to attend a program in another State.

6. Courtesy certification by the Rhode Island Batterers Intervention Program  Standards Oversight Committee is not intended to impinge in any way upon  procedures or standards that the other state or jurisdiction may impose with respect to batterers programs.



SECTION H.  PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF RULES

Procedures:

1. Any interested person may petition the Batterers Intervention Program Standards  Oversight Committee to request the promulgation, amendment, or repeal of any of  the Rules of Practice and Procedure, or of the Comprehensive Standards for Batterers Intervention Programs, by submitting a request in writing to the Designated Chair of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee: Sisan Smallman, Assistant Probation and Parole Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole, One Dorrance Plaza, Providence RI 02903; telephone: (401) 458-3045.  The request shall specify what rule(s) or standard(s) is the subject of petition; shall suggest an alternative rule or standard; and shall indicate the date, and contact address/ telephone.  It is requested, but not required, the practitioners identify any affiliation (if applicable) with a batterers intervention program, victim services provider, criminal justice agency, or other entity that has a professional connection to the work of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee, its Rules of Practice and Procedure, or the Comprehensive Standards for Batterers Intervention Programs.

2. The Chair shall submit such petitions to the Oversight Committee at its next regularly scheduled meeting; provided, however, that if such a meeting is not scheduled within the next thirty (30) days following receipt of the petition (or other time frame specified by RIGL §42-35-6), a special meeting shall be called.  Petitioner(s) shall be notified of the date, time, and place of the meeting.

3. Each petition shall be presented to the Oversight Committee for its consideration and disposition. Petitioner(s) shall be invited to provide additional information, if desired.  Oversight Committee votes regarding petition(s) shall be conducted in accordance with the Committee By-Laws.

4. Upon submission of a petition, the Oversight Committee within thirty (30) days (or as specified in RIGL §42-35-6) shall either deny the petition in writing (stating its reasons for the denials) or initiate rule-making proceedings in accordance with RIGL §42-35-3.



SECTION I. BY-LAWS

Article 1. Name

The name of the Committee shall be the ďBatterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee,Ē hereinafter referred to as the Committee.

Article II. Purpose

The Committee was established and authorized pursuant to Sections §12-29-5 and §12-29-5.1-3 of the Rhode Island General Laws, as enacted in 1997.  The purpose of the Committee is outlined in Section §12-29-5.2 as follows:
a) to establish and promulgate minimum standards for batterers intervention programs serving persons mandated pursuant to section §12-29-5, revise such standards as is deemed necessary, and make such standards available to the public;
 b) to monitor and review batterers intervention programs seeking certification with  respect to compliance with such standards, including periodic on-site review;
c) to certify those batterers intervention programs which are in compliance with the  standards established pursuant to section § I 2-29-5.2(a); and
d) to investigate and decide appeals, complaints, requests for variances, and post- enrollment certification applications.

Article III. Members

The Committee shall consist of thirteen (13) voting members to be appointed as outlined in §12-29-5.1. The positions identified in §12-29-5.1 shall be considered permanent members of the Committee, although the individuals filling such positions may on occasion change.

Each member of the Committee may appoint one (1) permanent designee and one (1) named alternate who may attend Committee meetings. In the absence of the Committee member, his/ her vote may be cast by either the designee or the alternate.

Members may elect to change who shall represent them as permanent designee or named alternate. The Committee shall be notified in writing of any such change.

Article IV. Officers

The Chairperson of the Committee shall be the Director of the Department of Corrections, or his/her designee. The Chairperson/ designee shall have the general duties of governance usually vested in the office of Chairperson, and shall have other duties and powers as may be prescribed by the Committee.

The Vice Chairperson shall be selected by the Chairperson to assume all the duties of the Chairperson is his/her absence. In order to avoid potential conflict of interest, the Vice Chairperson shall be a member of the Committee (or designee) .who shall have no affiliation with any batterers intervention program.

Article V. Meetings

The Committee shall meet no fewer than four (4) times per year at the call of the Chairperson or upon petition of a majority of Committee members (or their designees or alternates). Written notification of the time and place of any meetings shall be given at least 48 hours prior to the time of the meeting, and public notice of all meetings shall be made in accordance with the Open Meetings regulations of the State of Rhode Island (Section §42-46 of the Rhode Island General Laws).

A simple majority of the full Committee (or designees or alternates) shall constitute a quorum for all business of the Committee. Decisions and votes may be passed by a simple majority of votes in the affirmative by those members (or designees or alternates) present, unless specified otherwise in these by-laws.

Committee members (or their designees or alternates) who have any affiliation with a batterers intervention program shall not cast a vote regarding certification of any particular batterers intervention program.

Article VI. Committees

Subcommittees, task forces, focus groups and advisory committees (hereinafter referred to as subcommittees) shall be appointed by the full Committee as needed. Membership in each such subcommittee shall include at least two (2) Committee members (or their designees), one (1) of whom shall be the facilitator. The facilitator shall be selected by the members of the subcommittee.

The presence of a minimum of three (3) subcommittee members shall be required in order to conduct subcommittee business.

The Committee shall approve the membership of each subcommittee. At the discretion of the Committee, subcommittee members may include individuals who are not otherwise full Committee members (or designees or alternates).

Subcommittees shall strive for consensus decision-making, and shall summarize issues and present recommendations to the Committee. When a consensus is not reached, the subcommittee shall report the varied perspectives to the full Committee.

Minutes shall be taken of all Committee and subcommittee meetings, and shall be maintained and distributed in accordance with Section §42-46 of the Rhode Island General
Laws.

Article VII. Amendment of By-Laws

These by-laws may be amended or repealed and new by-laws adopted at a meeting designated for this purpose, if a quorum is present and a vote to adopt a by-law is passed by a simple majority of votes in the affirmative by those members (or designees or alternates) present. Notice of such a meeting must be given at least one (1) month prior to the meeting, and must include a written description and explanation of any proposed changes.



APPENDICES

A. Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5
B. Rhode Island General Laws §12-29-5.1-3.
C. Batterers Intervention Program Comprehensive Certification Application.
D. Batterers Intervention Program Initial Certification Application.
E. Complaint Log.
F. Statement of Conflict of Interest.



 

BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM

COMPREHENSIVE STANDARDS
 

Date- August 4, 1998
Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee



  BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM COMPREHENSIVE STANDARDS
Table of Contents

BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM COMPREHENSIVE STANDARDS SUMMARY 3
1. PURPOSE STATEMENT 4
II. HISTORY/ AUTHORITY/ APPLICABILITY/ SCOPE 5
III. PRINCIPLES AND GOALS 6
IV. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS 7
V. ACCOUNTABILITY: OFFENDER AND PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES 9
A. Responsibilities to Victims and the Community 9
B. Confidentiality and the Limits of Confidentiality 11
C. Batterer Responsibilities and Rights 12
D. Program Records 12
E. Non-Discrimination 13
VI. PROGRAM CONTENT AND FORMAT 13
A. Curriculum 13
B. Identified Problem, Focus of Intervention, and Referrals for Other Services 15
C. Referrals and Intake 16
D. Group Format Standards 17
E. Standards of Conduct for Group Participants 18
F. Participant Fees 18
VII.  GROUP FACILITATORS AND OTHER STAFF 19
A.  Program Responsibilities 19
B.  Facilitator Qualifications 21
C. Supervisor Qualifications 21
D. Nature of Facilitator Supervision 22
E. Standards of Conduct for Group Facilitators 23
VIll. Recommended Program Features 23
IX. APPENDICES 25
A. Power and Control Wheel 25
B. Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee 25
 BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM COMPREHENSIVE STANDARDS SUMMARY

Domestic Violence is a crime. The consequences for the perpetrator include criminal sanctions, and require participation in and completion of a batterers intervention program. In accordance with RIGL §12-29-5 and §12-29-5.1-3, all Court mandated domestic violence offenders shall be referred to a batterers intervention program that is certified by the Batterers Intervention Programs Standards Oversight Committee as meeting identified minimum standards.

The standards are founded on certain essential principles. Certified batterers Intervention programs must demonstrate a commitment to victim safety and abuser accountability. While each and every standard is considered important and necessary, key program elements are summarized as follows:

? BATTERERS INTERVENTION IS CONDUCTED IN THE CONTEXT OF PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL GROUPS OF PEERS UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL FACILITATORS TRAINED AND EXPERIENCED IN SUCH WORK.
? This provision is specifically required by law

? GROUP MEETINGS OF 1 1/2 TO 2 HOURS EACH TAKE PLACE FOR A MINIMUM OF 20 WEEKS; TOTAL CONTACT TIME IS 40 HOURS OR MORE.
? This provision is specifically required by law

? ALL BATTERERS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY FEES FOR THE PROGRAM. HOWEVER, PROGRAMS ACCOMMODATE VARYING LEVELS OF ABILITY TO PAY BY MEANS OF SLIDING FEE SCALES, AND HAVE THE OPTION OF OFFERING ALTERNATIVES SUCH AS COMMUNITY SERVICE OR DEFERRED PAYMENT FOR SOME PORTION OF THE FEES.
? This provision is specifically required by law

? GROUPS OF 11-18 PARTICIPANTS HAVE TWO OR MORE CO-FACILITATORS; SMALLER GROUPS CAN HAVE ONE FACILITATOR.

? PROGRAMS MUST ENSURE THAT ALL BATTERERS GROUPS HAVE SUBSTANTIAL EXPERIENCE WITH BOTH MALE AND FEMALE FACILITATORS, PREFERABLY WORKING AS A TEAM.

? GROUP FACILITATORS ARE GENERALLY REQUIRED TO HAVE A MINIMUM OF A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN A RELATED FIELD OF STUDY, WITH SPECIALIZED TRAINING TO PREPARE THEM FOR THEIR WORK.  SUPERVISION IS TO BE PROVIDED BY QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED MASTER'S LEVEL PROFESSIONALS.

? BATTERERS ARE TREATED WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY, AND ARE TAUGHT NON-ABUSIYE BEHAVIORS. THEY ARE CONFRONTED WITH THE IMPACT OF THEIR ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, AND ARE HELD TO BE FULLY RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR CHOICES.

? BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAMS HELP BATTERERS TO RECOGNIZE THAT BEING NON-ABUSIVE REQUIRES A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT THAT GOES BEYOND COMPLETING THE PROGRAM.

? BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM5 ARE RESPONSIBLE TO VICTIMS AND TO THE COMMUNITY AT LARGE, AS WELL AS TO THE INDIVIDUAL PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS. THEIR CONTRACTS WITH BATTERERS SPECIFY THAT REPORTS OF ATTENDANCE, COOPERATION AND PARTICIPATION ARE REPORTED AS APPROPRIATE TO ADULT PROBATION AND/OR OTHER REFERRING AGENCY, THE COURT, AND VICTIMS. ALL DANGEROUS OR THREATENING BEHAVIOR IS REPORTED TO THE PROPER AUTHORITIES.

 STANDARDS DATE: August 4, 1998

BATTERERS INTERVENTION PROGRAM COMPREHENSIVE STANDARDS

1. PURPOSE STATEMENT

Violence cannot be condoned under any circumstances. All abusive behavior has consequences. Violence and other forms of abuse within a family, household, or domestic relationship are especially egregious: issues of access, trust, dependency, children, and intimacy profoundly exacerbate the immediate effects of the abuse itself and often become tools in its perpetration. The home, which should be the source and expression of greatest security and comfort, instead becomes the center of conflict, fear, injury, and threat, undermining the safety, health and well-being of the individuals who experience and witness abuse. Children are especially vulnerable to victimization: child abuse often co-occurs with partner abuse, and witnessing abuse of a parent is itself abusive to children.

The perpetrator of domestic violence is solely responsible for the abusive behavior and its consequences, and the entire legal and service system must act together in order to hold the abuser accountable. An effective and coordinated response to domestic violence depends upon the courts, prosecution, law enforcement, probation, victim services, health care system, social service agencies, and batterers intervention programs working collaboratively. The foundation of such a coordinated response is the law.

In 1988, the Rhode Island State Legislature passed the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Title 12, Chapter 29 of the Rhode Island General Laws (RIGL). Among other things, this law mandates that a police officer shall make an arrest if he/she has probable cause to believe that a crime of domestic violence has been committed. Section § 12-29-5, as amended in 1997,
states:

Every person convicted of or placed on probation for a crime involving domestic violence or whose case is filed pursuant to §12-10-12 where the defendant pleads nolo contendere, in addition to any other sentence imposed or counseling ordered, shall be ordered by the judge to attend, at his or her own expense, appropriate to address his or her violent behavior, a batterer's intervention program.

A further addition to this section of the law defines batterers intervention program as a program that is certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee to be in accordance with minimum standards. The Oversight Committee, established in 1997 by RIGL §12-29-5.1-3, is empowered to establish and promulgate minimum standards for batterers intervention programs serving mandated batterers; to monitor and review batterers intervention programs seeking certification, including periodic on-site review; to certify those programs that are in compliance with the standards; and to investigate and decide appeals, complaints, and requests for variances. (See Appendices A and B of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure for the full text of the statutes.)

Subsequent to such legal mandates, and in order to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the community response to domestic violence, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections/ Adult Probation and Parole, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence have cooperated with other community agencies to develop and implement these standards of performance for organizations providing intervention services to mandated batterers. While fields of study and practice relative to domestic violence are still new and changes are inevitable, it is nevertheless incumbent upon the community to act upon our best current understanding of the principles and dynamics of domestic violence, and to insist upon the most effective interventions possible.

These comprehensive program standards are established for the purpose of defining a batterers intervention program, as referenced in law; and for the purpose of enabling a duty constituted Oversight Committee to identify, certify, and monitor programs that shall be eligible for referrals of court mandated batterers. The intent of the standards is to encourage ethical and quality services that insist on the accountability of perpetrators; that teach and support perpetrators in learning non-abusive behavior; that make every feasible effort to stop perpetrators from committing further abuse; and that are committed to providing safety for, and accountability to, victims of domestic abuse.

II. HISTORY/ AUTHORITY/ APPLICABILITY/ SCOPE

The effort to develop standards for batterers intervention programs was initiated by the Office of the Attorney General, with substantial support from the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence and participation by other community agencies. By mutual agreement, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections / Adult Probation and Parole later assumed the primary leadership role. Statutory authority for this role was subsequently sought by means of amendments to the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (RIGL §12-29-5 and §12-29-5.1-3). The law requires that domestic violence offenders (convicted, on probation, or whose cases are filed) attend a batterers intervention program certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee as meeting certain standards. Authority for the Oversight Committee, chaired by the Department of Corrections, became effective immediately upon passage in June, 1997. Effective January 1, 1998, court mandated domestic violence offenders shall only be referred to certified batterers intervention programs.

As defined in law, the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee is comprised of thirteen (13) representatives of various community agencies and members of the public. The Oversight Committee is responsible for development and on-going review of standards; monitoring of batterers intervention programs; certification of programs that are in compliance with the standards; and investigating complaints and appeals. The composition of the Oversight Committee, the statutory description of its duties and responsibilities, and the rules of procedure guiding these activities are detailed in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure.
 

Agencies and practitioners seeking certification under the terms of §12-29-5 and §12-29-5.1-3 are encouraged to request review and apply for certification through the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee. Successfully meeting the standards, or being in substantial compliance and having an accepted action plan to address discrepancies, makes a program or practitioner eligible to receive referrals of court mandated domestic violence offenders. However, certification does not constitute licensure of facilities, practitioners, or other services that may be offered by the same person(s) or agency; nor does certification guarantee or imply a guarantee of referrals or monetary support.

The Oversight Committee has no power or intention to prevent, prohibit, or enjoin practices not in conformity with the standards. Community agencies and practitioners are not obligated to conform to these standards, nor to apply to the Oversight Committee for certification; any individual, agency or program may serve non-mandated clients who are domestic violence perpetrators . In addition, the law provides that post-enrollment certification may be requested by a batterer who has, prior to adjudication, enrolled in a program not certified by the Oversight Committee.

All service providers involved with domestic violence perpetrators or victims, whether the services are directly related to domestic violence or incidental to it, and whether or not criminal charges have been filed, are strongly urged to become aware of the relevant issues, principles, dynamics, and ancillary services in recognition of the specialized nature of intervention for domestic abuse.

III. PRINCIPLES AND GOALS

Domestic violence is a crime. The consequences for perpetrators sanctioned pursuant to RIGL § 12-29-5 include criminal penalties, and require participation in and completion of a certified batterers intervention program. Among the principles and goals at the core of programs certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee are the following:

? Batterers are responsible for their own behavior, and must be held accountable for that behavior.

? Violent, threatening, and abusive behavior is purposeful, serving to exercise power and control over another individual.

? Abusive behavior is a choice, not an illness.

? Individuals can learn alternatives to abusive behavior, and can behave non-abusively.

? Batterers intervention differs from and is not replaceable by substance abuse treatment, mental health services, family/ marital/ couples or other counseling.

? Becoming and remaining non-violent and non-abusive requires a sustained commitment by the abusive person.

? Those who have been victimized by an abusive person, or who could be victimized, have no legal, moral, ethical, or personal responsibility for the abuser's behavior.

IV. DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

A. Appeal is a request by a program for reconsideration of a decision made by the Oversight Committee with respect to Its certification as a batterers intervention program. Details regarding the appeals process can be found in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure.

B. Batterers are perpetrators of domestic violence (defined below). While the majority of batterers are males and the majority of 'victims are females, batterers as well as victims can be male or female.

C Batterers Intervention Program is a program that is designed specifically to address issues of abuse, power and control, with domestic violence offenders, as defined in RIGL S.12-29-2. Programs offered for mandated offenders must be certified by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee as meeting certain minimum standards. The term intervention connotes an interruption in the learned behavior of the batterer with an opportunity to change this behavior and the underlying values. For the purpose of these standards, such intervention will not be referred to as treatment, a term that can imply that a physical disease or mental illness is responsible for the batterer's behavior. Batterers intervention programs can either stand alone or be part of a larger multi-service agency.

D. Complaints are formal accusations, charges, or reports of problems made by a batterer, victim, staff member, referral agent, or any member of the public regarding a batterers intervention program policy, practice, staff conduct, or other substantive matter related to the standards or to other requirements under law. Details regarding the complaint process can be found in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure.

E. Court Mandate refers to a command, order, or direction, either written or oral, which a court is authorized to give and an individual is bound to obey. For the purposes of these standards, court mandate refers to the requirement that a batterer participate in a certified batterers intervention program, as delineated in RIGL §12-29-5. These standards shall apply only to batterers intervention programs seeking court mandated referrals.

F. Domestic Violence as defined in RIGL §12-29-2 includes, but is not limited to, any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another: simple assault, felony assault, vandalism, disorderly conduct, trespass, kidnapping, child snatching, sexual assault, homicide, violations of the provisions of a protective order, and stalking. Batterers intervention programs shall address issues related to domestic violence, including emotional, physical, sexual, verbal, or economic abuse which is used by one person to gain and/or maintain power and control over another person in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence occurs independent of marital status or sexual orientation, and crosses all ace, racial, cultural, educational, religious or economic background of those involved. Related terms that may be found in this document include domestic abuse, battering, violence, and abusive relationship.

G. Facilitators are trained and experienced professionals who deliver the information, curriculum, and content of the batterers program, and monitor and direct the interaction of individuals within the croup format.

H. Family or Household Member as defined in RIGL §12-29-2 includes spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three (3) years, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together, and persons who are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past six (6) months.

I. Post-Enrollment Certification Application is defined in the statute as an application made to the Oversight Committee by a batterer mandated to attend a certified batterers intervention program who has, prior to adjudication, enrolled in a program not certified by the Committee. Details regarding the post-enrollment certification process can be found in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure.

J. Psycho-Educational Group is the identified model for conducting batterers intervention. This model suggests that the optimal opportunity for abusive persons to learn new behaviors, to "unlearn" abusive behaviors, and to re-examine their own underlying beliefs and values is in the context of a group of peers, led by one or more professional facilitators trained and experienced in such work. The learning that occurs is the result of the interactive and observational experiences among group members and facilitators, as well as modeling, values clarification, skill building, and other interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics, all of which help to convey and give meaning to the didactic instruction that also takes place.

K. Variances are accepted deviations from general program format and established program standard(s), granted by the Oversight Committee in response to a specific request by a batterers intervention program. A variance is not intended as a means of circumventing existing standards; it is intended to address new or exceptional circumstances, and must be for a specific identified purpose. A variance must be requested, must be justified, and must be shown to have no detrimental effect on the substance of the program standards. Details regarding the variance process can be found in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure.



V. ACCOUNTABILITY: OFFENDER AND PROGRAM RESPONSIBILITIES

The primary goal of batterers intervention is to stop abuse in order to enhance the safety of known and potential victims. As a result, program principles, practices, and organization must incorporate awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of victims; hold batterers accountable for their own behavior; and report on offender compliance to the criminal justice system.

Batterers intervention programs shall have written policies reflective of the basic standards, program requirements, principles, and practices as set forth in this document. Programs shall maintain such written records of activities as needed to document compliance with requirements and standards.

A. Responsibilities to Victims and the Community

Principles of victim safety shall guide the conduct of batterers intervention groups and all other activities of batterers intervention programs.

1. Batterers intervention program staff are obligated to report any credible threat to harm self or others. Under the legally recognized concept of "duty to warn," such threats shall be reported to the police immediately, and reasonable efforts shall be made to notify any identified victim. If the victim cannot be located, the victim advocate and/or the Victims of Crime Helpline at (800) 494-8100 shall be contacted. Adult Probation and/or other referral source shall be notified as soonas possible. Illegal, dangerous, or threatening behavior that does not appear to pose an immediate credible risk of harm shall be reported to the appropriate individuals and/or authorities (victim, advocate, Adult Probation, police) within a reasonable time frame, according to the nature of the behavior.

2. Programs shall inform victims with whom they have contact that completion of a batterers intervention program is not a guarantee that the abuse will stop; and shall articulate to such victims that being non-abusive requires long-term commitment and continuing effort on the part of the batterer.

3. Other victim contact by the batterers intervention programs is ordinarily appropriate only for the purpose of providing information about the specific intervention program and batterers intervention in general; the enrollment and attendance or non-attendance of the batterer; and referrals for victim services from local domestic violence service programs. The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence shall maintain and make available sample brochures for victims and updated lists of local domestic violence victim services.

4. Victims contacting batterers intervention programs with inquiries about specific batterers shall be referred to Adult Probation and/or other referral source for any information about batterers except enrollment status and attendance record. Victims shall be offered referral information for victim service programs.

5. Batterers intervention programs shall not ask a victim to support or expedite a batterer's participation in the program.

6. If an agency offers a batterers intervention program and also provides services to victims, the following safety precautions shall be in place:

a. Program staff providing services to batterers or victims shall not provide services to both partners.

b. Program staff providing services to victims shall not share information about individual victims with batterers intervention staff.

C. Programs for victims shall not be offered at the same, overlapping, or adjacent time periods, at the same location as those for batterers.

d. All reasonable efforts shall be taken to avoid having batterers and victims present at the same time, and victim safety and privacy shall not be compromised.

7. Batterers intervention programs shall work cooperatively with shelters for victims of domestic abuse, victim advocates, the criminal justice system, and task forces formed on behalf of victims of battering.

8. Batterers intervention program staff shall maintain familiarity with state laws regarding domestic violence and protective and no-contact orders; maintain a resource library for referrals for victims to advocates, support services, shelters, and access to protective orders, and be familiar with local law enforcement, prosecution, and court policies regarding domestic violence cases.

9. Batterers intervention programs shall establish and work to maintain linkages with the criminal justice system. Programs shall be responsive and accountable to the criminal justice system, including but not limited to reporting each batterer's compliance with program and mandated requirements.

B. Confidentiality and the Limits of Confidentiality

As clients of a social service agency, batterers are entitled to reasonable privacy and confidentiality, including protections provided by law, regulation, and ethical considerations. However, public safety requirements impose limitations on confidentiality.

1. Batterers intervention programs shall develop and implement written policies which require that upon enrollment, mandated batterers shall provide written and signed authorization to release confidential information regarding program enrollment, attendance, cooperation, participation, and fee payment status for the purpose of reporting to Adult Probation, the court(s) having jurisdiction, other law enforcement entities, and victims and/or their representatives.

2. Enrolled batterers shall be informed that dangerous, threatening, or illegal behavior within the batterers intervention program or coming to the attention of program staff shall not be considered confidential, and that such information shall be communicated to appropriate individuals and authorities.

3. Batterers intervention programs shall notify identified victims and/or victim advocates, Adult Probation and/or other referral sources when court mandated batterers are terminated from the programs prior to completion.

4.  If audio or video taping is done of groups for release in the pubic arena, consent shall be secured from the identified victims of participants, as well as from the participants themselves.

5. Batterers intervention programs that conduct research, participate in research, and/or provide data to researchers shall ensure that the research protocols disguise or eliminate identifying information related to batterers and victims.

6. Programs requesting certification shall provide reasonable access to individuals authorized by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee for the purpose of program review and certification. Such individuals shall be permitted to review client and program records, observe group sessions, conduct staff and/or client interviews, and perform other activities as part of the certification process and in accordance with duly established procedures.

7. With the indicated exceptions, client information and records shall be kept strictly confidential.

C. Batterer Responsibilities and Rights

1. Upon enrollment, batterers shall be provided with a written contract that specifies their obligations for program attendance, cooperation, participation, and  responsibility for fees and/or alternative arrangements. The contract shall be reviewed and signed by the batterer and by a staff member of the intervention program. The staff member's signature shall attest to having read the contract to the client, and having provided a copy to the client.

2. At the time of intake and assessment by program staff, batterers shall be asked to provide a thorough history of their abuse in current and past relationships, as well as any and all other violence.

3. Mandated batterers shall be required to authorize release of confidential information to enable the batterers intervention program to exchange information with Adult Probation and/or other referral source, with courts having jurisdiction, and with other service providers as appropriate to the individual's situation.

4. Batterers intervention programs shall develop a mechanism for considering and responding to written complaints from batterers, victims or other individuals regarding staff conduct, program practices, or other substantive matters. Program participants shall be informed that there is such a process for filing complaints, the details of which shall be made available to any interested person.

D. Program Records

1. Individual participant records (paper and/or computer files) shall be maintained by batterers intervention programs throughout the individual's enrollment in the program. Following discharge, satisfactory or unsatisfactory, the program shall maintain at least a summary of batterer participation. All such individual records shall be maintained in a secure, confidential, and private manner, for a minimum of three (3) years until such time as they are destroyed.

2. Batterers intervention programs shall assess participant progress and shall produce monthly status reports. Status reports, termination reports, and completion reports shall address, at a minimum, the batterer's attendance, missed sessions, cooperation, participation, and payment status. Such reports shall be made a part of the individual's record; shall be provided as appropriate to Adult Probation and/or other referral sources; and/or shall be provided directly to Rhode Island courts having jurisdiction in court mandated cases.

3.  Batterers intervention programs shall maintain records of written complaints from batterers, victims, staff, and other individuals, and shall note the dispositions of such complaints. Batterers intervention programs shall also maintain records of unusual incidents, as defined by program policies. Such records shall be maintained for a minimum of three (3) years.

4.  Batterers intervention programs shall maintain summary or statistical data including (but not limited to) numbers of referrals, numbers of enrollments, numbers of batterers completing the program, and numbers of batterers discharged prior to completion.

E. Non-Discrimination

1. Batterers intervention programs shall maintain written policies and shall implement practices that prohibit discrimination against victims, batterers, staff, or other individuals on the basis of race, class, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation.

2. All programs shall provide physical, communication and programmatic access to persons with disabilities and shall have physically accessible facilities or an alternative option for disabled batterers, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


VI. PROGRAM CONTENT AND FORMAT

Batterers intervention program goals, values, practices, curricula and policies shall reflect the basic principles enumerated in this document and summarized in Section 111. Principles.

A. Curriculum

Batterers intervention programs shall implement a psycho-educational group intervention model of practice that incorporates at a minimum the following topics, concepts and skills:

1. Domestic violence shall be defined as a serious crime.

2. Domestic abuse shall be defined as part of a pattern of coercive control that may include physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.

2. Batterers must be held fully responsible for their abuse.

4. Batterers intervention programs shall consider violent and abusive behavior to be a choice for which the abuser is responsible. Programs shall recognize that violence is a learned pattern of behavior supported by a system of beliefs and attitudes. Alternative explanations, excuses, or justifications shall be rejected, including substance abuse, psychopathology, provocation or behavior on the part of the partner, or lack of self-control.

5. A responsibility plan shall be developed with each batterer, including basic steps the batterer agrees to take in conflict situations to assure the safety of the partner(s).

6. Programs shall employ and explain a model, such as the Power and Control Wheel (see attachment), which illustrates different forms of abusive behavior and specific examples of such behaviors.

7. Batterers intervention programs shall demonstrate techniques and/or tools for choosing non-abusive behavior, including but not limited to work done outside of the group on a weekly basis.

8. Communication skills training shall be included in the curriculum.

9. The program curriculum shall inform batterers about the impact of the abuse on the partner.

10. The program curriculum shall inform batterers about the impact of the abuse on children; the incompatibility of abuse with responsible parenting, and the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse.

11. The program curriculum shall inform batterers about the impact of the abuse on other household members and witnesses.

12. The program curriculum shall inform batterers about gender role stereotypes, and how they affect the potential for abuse.

13. The program curriculum shall inform batterers about the relationship between sexual abuse and pornography, and how they affect the potential for abuse.

14, The program curriculum shall inform batterers about substance abuse and its relationship to domestic violence.

15. Programs shall inform the batterers that completion of a batterers intervention program is not a guarantee that the abuse will stop, and shall articulate to batterers that being non-abusive requires long-term commitment and continuing effort on the part of the individual batterer.

16. All materials shall be presented in a manner that maximizes comprehensibility to batterers of various levels of education, literacy, or cognitive skills,

17.  All materials shall be presented in a manner that demonstrates cultural sensitivity and non-discrimination.

18.  Programs that offer bilingual or non-English speaking groups shall ensure that the facilitators demonstrate awareness and understanding of participants culture as well as language.

19.  Cultural and social-influences that contribute to abusive -behavior shall be identified, and shall not be used to excuse or justify individual responsibility for abuse.

20.  Information, attitudes, beliefs, and principles shall be conveyed by means of a variety of methods and techniques, such as confrontation, support, education, skills building, modeling behavior, role playing, rehearsal, journal keeping, homework assignments, or others appropriate to the group participants, material, and staff.

B. Identified Problem, Focus of Intervention, and Referrals for Other Services

1. Batterers intervention programs shall explicitly identify their focus as domestic abuse/ domestic violence. The client need or problem to be addressed by the batterers intervention program shall not be identified as substance abuse, mental health problems, marital or couples counseling, or other diagnostic labels, whether for insurance or other purposes.

2. Treatment for substance abuse, mental health problems, marital or couples counseling, individual counseling, or any other treatment or intervention shall not substitute for intervention specific to domestic violence, as required by statute.

3. If the intake or subsequent evaluation reveals evidence of a substance abuse problem, notification shall be provided to Adult Probation and/or other referring agency. Substance abuse treatment shall not substitute for batterers intervention.

4. If the intake or subsequent evaluation reveals evidence of a mental health problem, notification shall be provided to Adult Probation and/or other referring agency. Mental health treatment shall not substitute for batterers intervention.

5. If as a result of the intake or subsequent evaluation, a batterer is considered inappropriate for group participation based upon behavior or any condition a facilitator deems likely to interfere with the ability to participate meaningfully in-group or with the group process, the individual shall be referred back to Adult Probation and/or other referral source for a determination as to how to address the domestic violence. Individual sessions covering a comparable batterers intervention curriculum may in this instance be considered as an acceptable alternative or supplement to participation in a group.

6. Batterers intervention programs shall articulate that their commitment is to stop the abuse and enhance the safety of victims, rather than to resolve other relationship or personal issues.

7. Batterers intervention programs shall not incorporate couples counseling or mediation between couples. Any program that also works with couples shall recognize the danger to the victim where there is continued violence and shall not conduct such couples work until the offender has completed a batterers intervention program, there is no evidence of ongoing violence, and the victim is in full uncoerced agreement.

8. Batterers intervention programs shall deem unacceptable for the purposes of batterers intervention codependencv or other models that attribute shared responsibility to both partners for continued victimization.

9. Batterers intervention programs shall consider to be inappropriate any modality that places blame on the victim, asks the victim to take responsibility for the batterer's violence, expects the victim to support the partners participation in the program, intimidates the victim, or assumes equal-power within an abusive relationship.

10. Batterers intervention programs shall recognize that impulse control or anger management approaches that teach ventilation techniques (such as punching pillows) can perpetuate abusive behavior and are inappropriate.

C. Referrals and Intake

1. At the time of enrollment, batterers intervention programs shall inquire whether the participant has been referred to the program as a result of court involvement. If so, the program shall promptly send (mail or fax) notice of enrollment to Adult Probation and/or other referral source.

2. No batterers intervention program shall knowingly enroll a court mandated individual who is currently enrolled in or has been referred to another program, except with the express agreement of Adult Probation and/or other referring agency.

3. Batterers intervention programs shall make every effort to admit a batterer into the program within two (2) weeks of the batterer's initial contact with the program. If admission to the program is not immediate, the program shall maintain contact with the batterer no less than once a week until the batterer begins a group. If the program projects that no group will be available within fourteen (14) calendar days, Adult Probation and/or other referral source shall be notified.

4. The intake process and ongoing assessment shall include such activities as: interviewing and gathering available information (for instance: identifying information, abuse history, social history, and arrest history); contracting with client (review of program rules and expectations, fee payment schedule, limits of confidentiality, completion of written agreement); and initial and ongoing assessment ( with particular attention to substance abuse, medical, and mental health needs and lethality risk).

D. Group Format Standards

1 .  Batterers Intervention shall be conducted in the context of psycho-educational groups of peers under the leadership of professional facilitators trained and experienced in such work.

2.  Batterers intervention program groups shall meet a minimum of twenty (20) weeks with a total of at least forty (40) contact hours. Each batterer shall be credited only for time actually in attendance, and fee collection shall not be included within the required contact hours.

3.  Group sessions shall be scheduled for one and one half to two (1 1/2 - 2) hours each in duration. Groups shall begin and end at scheduled times, with prohibitions against late arrival and early departure.

4.  A group of ten (10) or fewer participants shall have one (1) or more facilitators. A group of eleven (11) to eighteen (18) participants shall have two (2) or more co-facilitators. The maximum size of groups is eighteen (18) participants.

5.   All groups shall have comparable experience with both male and female facilitators working cooperatively, either at the same time (as with co-facilitators) or successively (as in small groups with a single facilitator). The preferred mode is a working team of male and female. In the event of an emergency or temporary unavailability of a particular facilitator, the program may utilize another facilitator, regardless of gender, for a limited period of time.

6.   All groups shall be comprised of adults (age 18 and older) or minors (age 17 and younger); the two age groups shall not be mixed.

7.   All groups shall be comprised of batterers of the same gender.

 8.  Any batterer who misses more than two (2) consecutive sessions, or who misses more than three (3) sessions in total, shall be considered non-compliant and shall be dismissed unsatisfactorily. A program seeking to make an exception for specific reasons shall consult with Adult Probation and/or other referral source.

9.  Any batterer who is adjudicated on a new domestic violence offense while enrolled in a batterers intervention program, or after having completed a program, shall be required to re-enroll and complete an entire program, consistent with the-legal mandate (RIGL §12-29-5). Adult Probation and/or other referring agency, in consultation with the batterers intervention program, shall determine whether the batterer shall be required to return to the same program or to a different program.

10. Batterers intervention programs shall report at least monthly to Adult Probation and/or other referral source regarding individual batterers' attendance, missed sessions, cooperation, participation, and payment status; and shall provide a written discharge summary upon successful or unsuccessful termination. If a court mandated batterer is dismissed from the program while enrolled in the group, the program shall notify Adult Probation and/or the Rhode Island court having jurisdiction the next business day.

E. Standards of Conduct for Group Participants

Batterers intervention programs shall develop rules and standards of conduct for all group participants. Upon enrollment, each batterer shall be informed of such rules and standards, which at a minimum shall include (but not be limited to) the following-

1.  Programs shall require that batterers refrain from any and all violence and abusive behavior within the group.

2. Programs shall require that batterers attend all sessions free of nonprescription drugs or alcohol.

3. Programs shall require that batterers refrain from having any weapon in their possession while attending the group.

4. Programs shall require that batterers take full responsibility for their abusive behavior.

F. Participant Fees

1. All batterers shall pay fees for program services. This is an important part of taking responsibility for their own violent behavior and is consistent with RIGL §12-29-5, which states that each batterer is required to attend an intervention program "at his or her own expense."

 2. In recognition of the genuine hardship faced by many individuals, and in an effort to reduce barriers to participation, each program shall also demonstrate a means of accommodating batterers who show that they are unable to pay full fees, if they are otherwise appropriate for services. In no case shall the amount to be paid be reduced to zero (0).

3.  Fees shall be based upon a sliding scale; and/or programs may elect to offer batterers who are unable to pay full fees an opportunity to do unpaid community service for a non-profit organization designated by the batterers intervention program in exchange for some part of the fees. Community service shall not be performed for any agency providing batterers intervention programs. Programs may elect to offer batterers a deferred payment schedule.

4. Upon enrollment in the batterers intervention program, each batterer shall be provided with a written contract delineating fees and/or community service for which the batterer is obligated and specifying the time frame for payment and/or service. The contract shall include a provision for requesting consideration of the terms of payment in the event that the batterer's financial circumstances change substantially.

5. A batterer who fails to comply with the contract for fee payment and/or performance of designated community service and who has not renegotiated the terms of the agreement shall be considered non-compliant and may be dismissed unsatisfactorily. In all such cases, the program shall consult with Adult Probation and/or other referral source.


VII.  GROUP FACILITATORS AND OTHER STAFF

A.  Program Responsibilities

1.   Batterers intervention programs shall recruit, hire, train, and supervise staff in accordance with policies that promote professional conduct, effective intervention, and victim and community safety.

2. All program personnel policies shall be based upon non-discrimination and programs are encouraged to recruit staff who reflect the diversity of the community.

3. Programs shall maintain a drug free and violence free workplace. Staff shall be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal, for substance abuse, violence, or other abusive behavior,

4. Programs shall develop a mechanism for considering and responding to complaints from batterers, victims, staff, or other individuals regarding staff conduct, program practices, or other substantive matters. Programs shall maintain records of such complaints and their disposition for a minimum of three (3) years.

5. Programs shall notify batterers, victims, staff, or other individuals of the process for filing complaints with the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee.

6. Programs shall not tacitly or explicitly condone behavior that contributes to or perpetuates abuse and oppression, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the program and placing victims and potential victims at greater risk for continued abuse. Programs shall provide internal monitoring mechanisms, training, and supervision aimed at eliminating such collusion.

7. Programs shall develop policies to address violence in the professional and personal lives of program staff.

8. Programs shall provide orientation for all new staff with respect to organization goals and philosophy, policies and procedures, safety precautions, confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality. Non-facilitator staff shall be provided with basic information and training regarding domestic violence issues and dynamics.

9. Programs shall provide, or shall provide access to, a minimum of twelve (12) hours per year of relevant in-service and on-going training for all facilitator staff in areas such as: domestic violence issues and dynamics; victim services and community safety issues; facilitation and co-facilitation of psycho-educational groups; group and interpersonal dynamics; assessment and intervention skills; adult education and instruction; legal issues; counseling; etc. All required or voluntary training that helps to meet this requirement shall be documented by the programs, including subject, trainer, participants, and number of hours.

10. Programs shall conduct a written evaluation of all new staff at two (2) or more intervals during the first year of employment. On-going written evaluation shall be conducted at least yearly thereafter.

11. Programs shall provide evidence of regular and on-going professional supervision as described herein for all facilitators by one or more individuals who are on staff or available as consultants.

B.  Facilitator Qualifications

1. All facilitators shall have attained a minimum of a Bachelorís degree in an appropriate field of study.  Fields of study may include (but are not limited to) social work, psychology, counseling, sociology, social sciences, child and family services, education, criminal justice.  Exceptional experience, skill, and knowledge may substitute for some part of the educational requirement. However, programs must be prepared to explain and justify any exceptions.

2. All facilitators shall have a minimum of forty (40) hours of training and/or education in related areas, including courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, and training sessions for which the facilitator can provide suitable documentation.  Relevant areas of training and/or education may include (but are not limited to) domestic violence issues and dynamics; victim services and community safety issues; facilitation and co-facilitation of psycho-educational groups; group and interpersonal dynamics; assessment and intervention skills; adult education and instruction; legal issues; counseling; and any other areas as may be deemed appropriate by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee.  Such training and/or education shall have been completed prior to employment by the program, and/or during the initial six (6) months of  employment.

3. Facilitators who are new to leading batterers intervention groups, regardless of their academic qualifications, shall work with a seasoned co-facilitator for their first 100 group hours.  For these purposes, a seasoned facilitator shall mean an otherwise qualified individual who has completed a minimum of 100 hours or one year experience leading batterers intervention groups, and a minimum of forty (40) hours training and/or education

4. Facilitators shall participate in a minimum of twelve (12) hours per year of training  and/or education in areas such as: domestic violence issues and dynamics;  victim services and community safety issues; facilitation and co-facilitation of psycho-educational groups; group and interpersonal dynamics; assessment and  intervention skills; adult education and instruction; legal issues; counseling; and  any other areas as may be deemed appropriate by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee

C. Supervisor Qualifications

1. All program staff or consultants who supervise facilitators shall have attained a minimum of a Masterís degree in an appropriate field of study.  Fields of study may include (but are not limited to) social work, psychology, counseling, sociology, social sciences, child and family services, education, criminal justice. Exceptional experience, skill, and knowledge may substitute for some part of the educational requirement. However, programs must be prepared to explain and justify any such exceptions.

2. Facilitator supervisors shall have a minimum of three (3) years substantive experience in related fields, including both victim and perpetrator issues. Relevant experience shall include work closely involved with such areas as domestic violence issues and dynamics; victim services and community safety issues; facilitation and co-facilitation of psycho-educational groups for batterers; group and interpersonal dynamics; clinical assessment, intervention, and; therapeutic skills; adult education and instruction; legal Issues; counseling; and any other areas as may be deemed appropriate by the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee.

3. Facilitator supervisors shall participate in a minimum of twelve (12) hours per year of on-going training and/or education in issues related to domestic violence, batterers intervention services, group facilitation, staff supervision, and any other areas as may be deemed appropriate by 'the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee.

D. Nature of Facilitator Supervision

1. Supervision shall be directed at monitoring, improving, and providing feedback on areas of competency including (but not limited to) group facilitation and co-facilitation skills; instructional methods; communication of curriculum; potential for collusion; ethics; awareness of victim and safety issues; ensuring accountability by group participants; group process issues; individual offender issues; intervention strategies; outside service needs; coordination with other service providers and monitors, such as Adult Probation, the courts, substance abuse treatment professionals, and victim service agencies; relevant laws and legal issues; and so on.

2. Supervision time, frequency, and format shall be appropriate to the level of education, training, and experience of the facilitators, and to their group contact time. Facilitators are to receive a minimum of four (4) hours supervision per month, except that supervision may be reduced to two (2) hours per month for a facilitator who leads no more than one (1) group per week.

3. Supervision modalities may include direct individual or group meetings.

E. Standards of Conduct for Group Facilitators

Batterers Intervention programs shall implement policies, staff monitoring, training, and/or other mechanisms that ensure that facilitators promote non-abusive behavior among group participants. Facilitators shall be required to set a positive personal example as an important means of communicating, teaching and modeling appropriate behavior.

1 Facilitators shall be violence free in their professional and personal lives.

2. Facilitators shall attend all sessions free of alcohol and other drugs, and with no weapons in their possession.

3. Facilitators shall demonstrate respect for and cooperation with their co-facilitators; and shall share group leadership responsibilities, including confrontation and support of participants.

4. Facilitators shall conduct themselves in a manner that consistently promotes and demonstrates respectful and non-abusive language, behavior, and attitudes.

5. Facilitators shall hold batterers responsible and accountable for their abusive behavior.

6.  Facilitators shall demonstrate support for the batterers' process of change.

7. Facilitators shall confront minimization and denial of abusive behavior.

8. Facilitators shall promote zero tolerance for any level of abuse.

9. Facilitators shall challenge attitudes of sexism, victim-blaming, and oppression (expressions of power and control over other individuals) in all its forms.

10. Facilitators shall prohibit participants from engaging in any form of abuse in group.

VIll. Recommended Program Features

Batterers intervention programs are encouraged to incorporate additional features which would be compatible with the basic program principles and requirements, and which could enhance the effectiveness of the program and the safety of victims. Examples of such features might include-

1. Programs provide follow-up options for batterers to maintain contact after  completion of the basic program, such as crisis intervention and/or on-going work.

2. One or more programs establish a hot line for batterers in crisis.

3. Programs incorporate a contract option by which willing batterers would relinquish all weapons while in the program.

4. Programs institute use of trained peer sponsors as a support network for batterers.

5. Programs investigate potential uses of videotapes, audiotapes, and/or personal appearances to introduce group participants to real-life experiences of victims.

6. Programs conduct evaluation of program effectiveness (clearly defined) through recognized research methods.

7. Programs maintain a minimum group size of six (6) whenever feasible.


IX. APPENDICES

A. Power and Control Wheel

[See page 23.]

B. Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee

[See page 24.1
 

 Batterers Intervention Program Comprehensive Standards
Standards Date: August 4, 1998
page 24

B. Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee

The composition of the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Oversight Committee as designated by law, the statutory description of its duties and responsibilities, and the rules of procedure guiding these activities are detailed in the Batterers Intervention Program Standards Rules of Practice and Procedure. As of August 8, 1998, the following individuals were members, designees, or alternates on the Oversight Committee:

CHAIR: George A. Vose, Jr., Director, RI Department of Corrections
 Designee: Sisan Smallman, Assistant Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole
 Alternate (Vice Chair): Stephen King, Policy Analyst, RI Supreme Court

MEMBERS: Joseph E. Smith, Executive Director, Governor's Justice Commission
 Designee: Kathy Loise!le (Interim Designee), Governor's Justice Commission

Deboran DeBare, Executive Director, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Designee: Francie Maniak, Director of Public Policy, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Law Enforcement Appointment by RI Police Chiefs Association
Designee. Col. Michael T. Brady, Chief of Police, Charlestown, RI

Jeffrey B. Pine, RI Attorney General
Designee: Stephen Cuomo, Director of Administration and Finance, Office of the Attorney General

Jonathon Houston, Executive Director, Justice Assistance
Designee: Inspector James Rouillier, Case Manager, Justice Assistance

Member of the Electorate Appointed by Governor of RI:
Designee: Michael DiBiase, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
Alternate: Joseph DiPina, Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor

Janice Dubois, Director, Supreme Court Domestic Violence Training and Monitoring Unit
Designee: Bernadette Beatty, Administrative Aide, Supreme Court Domestic Violence
Training and Monitoring Unit

The Honorable Joseph R. Weisberaer, Chiei Justice, RI Supreme Court
Designee: Stephen King, Policy Analyst, RI Supreme Court

Dr. Patricia Nolan, Director, RI Department of Health
Designee: Ann Kelsey Thacher, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention, RI Department of Health Alternate: Beatriz Perez, Violence Program Manager, RI Department of Health

Batterers Intervention Program Appointment by RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
Designee: Claude Verdier, Executive Director, PeaceWork
Alternate: David Medeiros, Co-Director, Opportunity for Change

The Honorable Albert E. DeRobbio, Chief Justice, RI District Court
Designee: The Honorable Elaine T. Bucci, Associate Justice, RI District Court

Dennis Langley, Executive Director, Urban League of RI
Designee: Lola M. Brito, Senior Policy Analyst, Urban League of RI

 As of May 13, 2002, the following individuals are members, designees, or alternates on the Oversight Committee:

CHAIR: A.T. Wall II, Director, RI Department of Corrections
 Designee Chair:  Sisan Smallman, Assistant Probation Administrator, Adult Probation and Parole
 Alternate Chair: Stephen King, Policy Analyst, RI Supreme Court

MEMBERS:
 Joseph E. Smith, Executive Director, Governor's Justice Commission
 Designee: Kristen Martineau, Governor's Justice Commission
 Alternate: Gina Tocco, Governor's Justice Commission

Deborah DeBare, Executive Director, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Designee: Lisa Shaw, Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Law Enforcement Appointment by RI Police Chief's Association
Chief Anthony Silva- Cumberland Police Department
Designee: Chief Alan Denaro- Central Falls Police Department

Sheldon Whitehouse, RI Attorney General
Designee: Kate Harden, Special Assistant Attorney General

Jonathon Houston, Executive Director, Justice Assistance
Designee: John Brennan, Justice Assistance

Member of the Electorate Appointed by Governor of RI, Lincoln Almond
Designee: Michael DiBiase, Office of the Governor
Alternate: Amanda Whiteleather, Office of the Governor

Janice Dubois, Director, Supreme Court Domestic Violence Training &
 Monitoring Unit
Designee: Karen Dellinger

The Honorable Frank Williams, Chief Justice, RI Supreme Court
Designee: Stephen King, RI Supreme Court

Dr. Patricia Nolan, Director, RI Department of Health
Designee: Ann Kelsey Thacher, Chief of Chronic Disease & Health Promotion,
 RI Department of Health
Alternate: Beatriz Perez, RI Department of Health

Batterers Intervention Program Appointment by RI Coalition Against Domestic
 Violence
Designee: Richard Lapierre, Program Director, Center for Social Work Practice
Alternate: Steven Horovitz, Program Director, NRI Community Services

The Honorable Albert E. DeRobbio, Chief Justice, RI District Court
Designee: The Honorable Elaine T. Bucci, Associate Justice, RI District Court

Dennis Langley, Executive Director, Urban League of RI
Designee: Belinda Bermingham, Urban League of RI
 12-29-5 Page 1 of 1



TITLE 12
Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 12-29
Domestic Violence Prevention Act

SECTION 12-29-5

§ 12-29-5 Disposition of domestic violence cases. - (a) As used in this section, "batterers intervention program" means a program which is certified by the batterers intervention program standards oversight committee according to minimum standards, pursuant to §§ 12-29-5.1, 12-29-5.2, and 12-29-5.3.

(b) Every person convicted of or placed on probation for a crime involving domestic violence or whose case is filed pursuant to § 12-10-12 where the defendant pleads nolo contendere, in addition to any other sentence imposed or counseling ordered, shall be ordered by the judge to attend, at his or her own expense, a batterer's intervention program appropriate to address his or her violent behavior. This order shall be included in the conditions of probation. Failure of the defendant to comply with the order is a violation of probation and/or the provisions of § 12-10-12. This provision shall not be suspended or waived by the court.

(c) Every person convicted of or placed on probation for a crime involving domestic violence as, enumerated in § 12-29-2 or whose case if filed pursuant to § 12-10-12 where the defendant pleads guilty or nolo contendere, in addition to other court costs or assessments imposed, shall be ordered to pay a twenty-five dollar ($25.00) assessment. All moneys collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited as general revenue.

(d) Every person convicted of an offense punishable as a misdemeanor involving domestic violence, as defined in § 12-29-2, shall:

(1) For a second violation be imprisoned for a term of not less than ten (10) days and not more than one year; and  (2) For a third and any subsequent violation be deemed guilty of a felony and be imprisoned for not less than one year and not more than ten (10) years.

(e) No jail sentence provided for under this section can be suspended.

(f) Nothing in this subsection limits the discretion of a judge to impose additional authorized sanctions in sentencing.



TITLE 12
Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 12-29
Domestic Violence Prevention Act

SECTION 12-29-5.1

§ 12-29-5.1 Oversight committee created - Composition. - (a) There is created the batterers intervention standards oversight committee, to be referred to as the "committee", pursuant to the provisions of § 12-29-5 of this chapter. The committee shall meet no fewer than four (4) times per year at the call of the chairperson or on petition of a majority of committee members. The committee shall consist of thirteen (13) members to be appointed as follows: The director of the department of corrections or his/her designee who shall serve as chairperson of the committee; the director of the governor's justice commission or his/her designee; the executive director of the Rhode Island coalition against domestic violence or his/her designee; a representative from the law enforcement community appointed by the chairperson of the Rhode Island police chiefs association; the attorney general or his/her designee; the director of justice assistance or his/her designee; a qualified elector of this state appointed by the governor; the director of the domestic violence training and monitoring unit or his/her designee; the chief justice of the supreme court or his/her designee; the director of the department of health or his/her designee; a representative of a batterers intervention program appointed by the director of the Rhode Island coalition against domestic violence; the chief judge of the district court or his/her designee; and the director of the urban league of Rhode Island or his/her designee.

(b) Each member of the committee may appoint a permanent designee to attend committee meetings in his/her absence. A quorum of the committee shall consist of a majority of its members.


TITLE 12
Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 12-29
Domestic Violence Prevention Act

SECTION 12-29-5.2

§ 12-29-5.2 Duties and responsibilities of committee. - (a) As used in this chapter, "post-enrollment certification applications" means those applications made to the committee by an individual mandated to attend a certified batterers intervention program in accordance with § 12-29-5 who has, prior to adjudication, enrolled in a program not certified by the committee.

(b) The committee has the duties and responsibilities to:

(1) Establish and promulgate minimum standards for batterers intervention programs serving persons mandated pursuant to § 12-29-5, revise those standards as necessary, and make those standards available to the public. The standards shall include but not be limited to the following:

(1) Batterers intervention programs shall be conducted in the context of psycho-educational groups, i.e., groups of domestic violence perpetrators led by one or more professional group leaders trained and experienced in batterers intervention programming and conducted for the purposes of learning and enacting non-abusive behaviors through instruction, interaction among participants and leaders, and teaching of skills within the groups; and

(ii) The duration of batterers intervention programs shall be a minimum of forty (40) contact hours over the course of twentv (20) weeks; and

(111) Batterers intervention programs shall require that all mandated participants pay fees for the programs in accordance with the provisions of § 12-29-5. The programs shall accommodate varying levels of ability to pay by means of sliding fee scales, and may elect to offer alternatives to payment in the form of public community restitution and/or deferred payment for a portion of the fees;

(2) Monitor and review batterers intervention programs seeking certification with respect to compliance with the standards, including periodic on-site review;

(3) Certify those batterers intervention programs which are in compliance with the standards established pursuant to § 12-29-5.2(b)(1); and

(4) Investigate and decide appeals, complaints, requests for variances, and post-enrollment certification applications.

(c) Post-enrollment certification applications shall include supporting documentation from the uncertified program and a request that participation in it be accepted in lieu of the equivalent number of hours of a certified batterers intervention program.

(d) The committee shall act upon a post-enrollment certification application within thirty (30) days of receipt.


TITLE 12
Criminal Procedure

CHAPTER 12-29
Domestic Violence Prevention Act

SECTION 12-29-5.3

§ 12-29-5.3 Subcommittees, task forces, focus groups and advisory committees. - (a) The committee may establish and appoint any subcommittees, task forces, focus groups, and advisory committees it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The committee shall promulgate the rules of procedure governing its operations in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, chapter 35 of title 42.