BATTERER INTERVENTION SERVICES STANDARDS
BATTERER INTERVENTION SERVICES COALITION
REGION 3

(ALLEGAN, KENT, IONIA AND MONTCALM COUNTIES)

DEFINITIONS

Domestic Violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that includes physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, isolation, economic abuse, threats, stalking and intimidation. These behaviors are used by one partner in an intimate relationship to control the behavior of the other partner and often, others in the family as well.

Criminal behavior in domestic violence situations include physical assaults, sexual assaults, threats and stalking behavior.

Batterer/assailant refers to the individual who uses any of the above behaviors to control his or her partner.

Victim/survivor refers to the individual who is abused and whose behavior is controlled by his or her partner. The criminal justice system tends to use the term "victim". Treatment programs tend to refer to this individual as a "survivor".

This document refers to the batterer/assailant as male, reflecting the predominant pattern of domestic violence. The Coalition recognizes that female battering toward a male occurs, as well as battering in lesbian and gay relationships. These standards are primarily for batterer intervention services for men.


STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY

Batterer intervention services are based on the recognition that battering is a pattern of behavior that is used to achieve and maintain power over the batterer's intimate partner.

Batterer intervention services maintain that perpetrators of abuse are solely responsible for their actions and must be held accountable for their abusive behavior. There is no behavior on the part of the victim/survivor that causes or excuses domestic violence.

Because batterers choose violence, they can also choose to stop violence and eliminate coercive control and controlling tactics from their intimate relationships. Intervention services recognize that men can learn alternatives of mutuality, shared decision making, trust, negotiation and fairness.

Batterer intervention services are committed to the safety of battered women and children. Potential for further harm is of utmost consideration when making policy and program decisions.

Batterer intervention services are provided, or appropriate referrals made, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or physical or mental disability. E3atterer intervention services advocate for and assist in the development of services for batterers not currently served.

Batterer intervention services directly cooperate with interrelated agencies, such as shelter programs, law enforcement, prosecuting agencies, corrections, and the judicial system. Satterer intervention services take an active role in building awareness in the community that male violence in any relationship is not to be tolerated.


PURPOSE OF THESE STANDARDS

1. To provide recognition that there are current, appropriate intervention methods for the provision of services to men who batter.

2. To provide to the public, to battered partners, to probation officers, to service providers, to the judiciary and others, expectations of service.

3. To establish a minimum level of responsibility-and accountability expected from those providing batterer intervention services.

4. To provide a measure against which batterer intervention services can be reviewed, while providing a basis for future service development.

5. To provide batterers with clear expectations of accountability, and with environments in which they can make the decision to change their behavior.



PRINCIPLES OF PRACTICE

Information exchanae with the Justice system

Batterer intervention services:

1. Obtain pertinent police reports and court orders (including copies of protection orders, bond conditions, probation/parole conditions, and record of prior convictions.)

2. Report any serious and/or repeated violations of protection orders, bond conditions and probation/paroie conditions to the appropriate court/probation agent or prosecuting agency.

3. Document further incidents of violence, including dates, brief descriptions, and outcomes.

4. Submit periodic participant evaluations (frequency to be determined with referral agency) to the court/probation agent or any designated agency; reports include attendance, participation, progress, and recommendations for further intervention.

5. Report to the court/probation agent and/or local law enforcement, as well as to the batterered partner, the risk of serious bodily injury or death to the battered partner or any other foreseeable person, based on threats by the program participant or the observation of violent conduct.


Participant/Program Contract Components

Batter intervention services include in client contracts:

1. Statement of philosophy consistent with these program standards.

2. Length of program, attendance policies and consequences of inadequate attendance.

3. The expectation of active participation, including sharing personal experiences, values and attitudes, and completing group activities and assignments.

4. An agreement to stop violent and threatening behaviors, to be nonabusive and non-controlling in relationships, to develop and adhere to a responsibility plan, to comply with all court orders, and to cooperate with the rules for group participation.

5. Requirement that participant authorize the release of information by program staff to the battered partner (or current partner if applicable) regarding participation in the program and discharge information.

6. Waiver of confidentiality in accordance with duty to warn battered partners, and report to law enforcement and court/probation agencies any risk of serious harm posed by the participant.

7. The right of confidentiality within the specified limits, and the requirement that participants safeguard the confidentiality of other group members.

8. Requirement that participant authorize the release of information by law enforcement, court, probation and prosecuting agencies of all pertinent court orders (including copies of protection orders, bond conditions, probation and parole conditions, and prior convictions) to program staff.

9. Fees/methods of payment.

10. Drug and alcohol policy, including the requirement that the client attend sessions free, of alcohol or illegal drugs.

11. Criteria for dismissal from the program and completion of the program.



STAFF REQUIREMENTS

Providers of batterer's intervention services have:

1. A Master's Degree in social work, psychology Qr related field with demonstrated experience in group work and domestic violence OR direct supervision -with a Master's level supervisor with at least three years experience in treatment for domestic violence,

or

2. Less than a Master's Degree with demonstrated experience in group work and domestic violence AND direct supervision with a Master's level supervisor with at least three years experience in treatment for domestic violence.

Exceptions to this policy are situations in which a program demonstrates the unavailability of a Master's level clinician with at least three years of treatment experience for domestic violence. Personnel in such programs should seek consultation with a batterer intervention program that meets the above staff requirements.

Service providers meet the following expectations:

a) follow the standards of their professional groups,

b) be violence free in their own lives and have no convictions that would impair their ability to provide services to batterers,

c) not use drugs or alcohol to an extent or in a manner that would impair the individual's ability to function in a responsible, professional manner.


INTERVENTION APPROACH

1. Group intervention is the treatment of choice for batterers. Group intervention provides an environment where batterers see in others their own behaviors, and learn from those who have been working for a longer. period of time at making personal changes. The intervention shall stress the safety of the victims and their children.

2. Individual sessions may be provided for intake and assessment purposes. Individual counseling may be used to augment group services, but shall not be substituted for group sessions, with the exception of cases of special circumstances such as individuals with mental impairments or chronic psychiatric disorders who do not have the ability to participate in a group. Individual counseling may be provided for gay, lesbian, or bisexual partners, or for female abusers if no appropriate group is available.

3. Couples counseling and family therapy is contraindicated because it assumes equal power in the relationship. Couples counseling and family therapy may be appropriate if-

a) the option is not initiated until the batterer has completed a barterer intervention service program that follows these standards,

b) it is clearly stated by the therapist that the couples/family therapy is not being conducted to stop the violence,

c) the partner or ex-partner feels an acceptable degree of safety, and freely chooses this as an option,

d) the batterer has demonstrated accountability.



INTERVENTION FORMAT

Batterer intervention services do not use any approach that blames or intimidates the victim or places that victim in greater danger.

Batterer intervention service format reflects, and fully supports the philosophy and principles of practice set forth in these standards.

Batterer intervention services utilize a format that teaches and promotes personal accountability.

To be avoided are "anger management" and "stress management" approaches that minimize the batterer's accountability and the effects of his behavior on others, and approaches that deal with battering primarily as a problem of communication, or as a "relationship" issue.


DURATION OF INTERVENTION

A violent act against a domestic partner indicates a significant behavioral and attitudinai problem. Battering is a pattern of behavior that tends to increase in frequency and severity over time. Battering is potentially lethal. Because of the severity of the problem, the optimal length of treatment should be one year. For batterers on probation, this should involve a treatment group with follow-up meetings, concurrent with one year of probation monitoring. For batterers who enter treatment programs voluntarily, the treatment groups and follow-up meetings should comprise one year of involvement.


GOALS OF BATTERER INTERVENTION PROGRAMS

Goals include but are not limited to the following:

a) acceptance of accountability,

b) no physical assaults during the length of the program,

c) understanding the range of abusive behaviors, the negative effects of abuse ont others, that abuse is purposeful and controlling, and other factors that contribute to violence and abuse,

d) developing and using non-abusive behaviors that promote healthy relationships.



ATTENDANCE

Batterer intervention services have a written attendance policy that is provided to the court/probation agent and is communicated to the service participant. Violations of the attendance policy are reported to the court/probation agent.


FEE STRUCTURE

1 . Perpetrators are expected to contribute to the payment for services. Section 4a of M.C.L.A.769.4a provides for "the accused to pay the reasonable costs of the service."

2. Fees for batterer intervention services are available on a sliding scale if possible.


3. The payment of the fee may be made a condition of probation.


DISCHARGE: CRITERIA AND PROCESS

Batterer intervention services establish written policies for dismissal and completion which are provided to service participants, partners of service participants, and the court/probation agent.

In developing criteria for dismissal from the program, the following are considered:

a) continued abuse, particularly physical violence,

b) failure to make appropriate use of the intervention service,

c) failure to comply with other intervention conditions which are part of the participant.'s contract,

d) failure to pay fees,

e) violation of the group rules,

f) violation of the provisions of a. court order.


The batterer intervention program has a procedure for notifying the battered partner and the court/probation if a participant is dismissed from the program.

In developing criteria for completion of the program, criteria include, but are not limited to the following:

a) consistent attendance,

b) cooperation with group rules,

c) no evidence of ongoing use of violence or threats of violence while a member of the program,

d) apparent adherence to goals and/or responsibility plan,

e) compliance with court orders,

f) compliance with other conditions of the participant's contract.


Completion of the program is communicated to the court. Completion indicates that the participant has adequately complied with the client contract and any court order. Completion does not predict whether the participant will re-abuse.


THE UNDERSIGNED BATTERER INTERVENTION PROGRAM ADHERES, IN SPIRIT AND IN PRACTICE, TO THESE STANDARDS. IF THERE ARE AREAS OF NONADHERENCE, THE UNDERSIGNED AGREES TO SUBMIT, IF REQUESTED BY THE COURT OR OTHER MONITORING BODY, DOCUMENTATION EXPLAINING AREAS OF NON-ADHERENCE.

THE UNDERSIGNED BATTERER INTERVENTION PROGRAM AGREES TO SUBMIT, IF REQUESTED BY THE COURT OF OTHER MONITORING BODY,
ITS STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY, A SAMPLE CLIENT CONTRACT, ITS
POLICY FOR COMMUNICATIO14 WITH THE JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND ITS PROGRAM GOALS .



BATTERER INTERVENTION PROGRAM


PROGRAM DIRECTOR


DATE