BATTERERS TREATMENT

SUBCOMMITTEE PROPOSAL

Washington D.C.
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

I.

Objective

1

II.

Program Design

3

III.

Minimum Program Standards

4

A. Assessment

4

B. Substance abuse and Mental Health

6

IV.

Program Orientation

7

V.

Program Specefics

7

A. Counseling and Treatment Groups

7

B. Core Curriculum

8

VI.

Referral Process/Collaborative Agreements

8

VII.

Staff Qualifications

9

A. Prerequisite Credentials for Facilitators

9

B. Prerequisite Credentials for Supervisors

9

VIII.

Monitoring Component

14

Bibliography

Appendix (Not included in this html document)


INTRODUCTION

The United States Congress has enacted the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. VAWA provides for the prevention and the improved prosecution of violent crime against women. In response to VAWA, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia implemented a Domestic Violence Task Force comprised of pertinent criminal justice and social services agencies to address the problem of domestic violence within the District of Columbia. The task force developed a Domestic Violence Plan which focuses on coordination of domestic violence and intrafamily cases across the civil and criminal divisions of the court. The drafters of the Plan agreed that more effective tracking and prosecution of these cases was necessary. They also recognized the importance of treatment in helping to reduce the problem of domestic violence.

In 1992, the court through its Social Services Division established the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) which treats victims and batterers using the psycho-educational model., See Appendix A. While the DVIP has provided services to a host of victims and batterers, the Domestic Violence Task Force recognized that the need for treatment far exceeded the resources of DVIP and thus a treatment committee was created to evaluate the needs of affected parties -- victims, batterers and children and explore alternative treatment resources. The committee later established subcommittees which more closely evaluated the needs of these groups. After countless meetings, reading and consultation, the batterers treatment subcommittee concluded that because of the growing need for batterers treatment the court should accept Request for Proposals from prospective treatment providers and establish minimum contract guidelines to be followed and/or expand the court's Domestic Violence Intervention Project.

The minimum guidelines require prospective treatment providers to submit Request for Proposals (RFP's) outlining their plan and design for implementation of a batterers treatment program consistent with the following.

1.The Superior Court's Domestic Violence Intervention Project is based on the Duluth model established by the Duluth Domestic Violence Intervention Project.


OBJECTIVES

The objectives of batterers treatment are to:

(1) define domestic violence and identify common characteristics and causes;

(2) hold batterers accountable, challenge their beliefs, and teach new skills that will result in changing their behavior;

(3) heighten awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence in the local community;

(4) inform batterers of appropriate means of interacting in relationships;

(5) equip batterers with skills that will enable them to contend with conflict without resorting to violence;

(6) coordinate and link batterers with appropriate community resources aimed at helping them lead productive non-battering lifestyles.


PROGRAM DESIGN

While the Domestic Violence Batterers Treatment Subcommittee proposes that providers submit program designs based on a psychoeducational model, the batterers treatment subcommittee recognizes that because batterers treatment is still in a developmental stage other treatment modalities may be considered. The prescribed program length shall be six months minimum with some period of aftercare included. Treatment groups should be conducted by two facilitators and group size should not exceed 15 individuals. Weekly treatment sessions should be no less than 90 minutes.

 


III. MINIMUM PROGRAM STANDARDS

A. Assessment

A psychosocial assessment is a critical component for batterers treatment. As such, it is not performed for the general purposes of judging the appropriateness of the batterer for the batterers' intervention program as that determination already has been made by the court. It is performed to:

a. screen out those persons from the batterers' intervention programs who may be dangerous or have severe mental illness and would not benefit from the program;

b. identify persons who would benefit from concurrent mental health or substance abuse treatment programs;

c. screen out those persons from the batterers' intervention program who have substance abuse problems or other impairments which make them unable to participate in the group intervention even with concurrent or preliminary treatment of those problems; and

d. elicit important information that the batterers intervention program may use during the psychoeducational process including:

(1) most recent violent episode;

(2) violence in previous relationships;

(3) family of origin violence (observed or experienced);

(4) assessment of lethality to include:

(a) homicide risk

(b) suicide risk

(c) frequency/cycle of violence

(d) history of violence

(e) substance use/abuse

(f) assaults on other family members, including children

(g) previous criminal history/activity

(h) violence outside the home

(i) proximity of victim and offender

(j) attitudes toward violence

(k) life stresses and/or potential triggers

(1) accessibility to weapons

(m) obsession over victim

(5) assessment of other forms of abusive behavior (emotional, sexual, financial, etc.);

(6) substance abuse assessment; and

(7) a mental health assessment.

B. Substance Abuse and Mental Health

1. Substance abuse, mental health and mental capacity should be screened in the assessment process and a recommendation must be made, if appropriate, for batterers to enroll in and complete an appropriate substance abuse and mental health treatment.

a. Substance abuse or mental health treatment should not be ordered or provided in lieu of domestic violence interventions. Depending on the severity of the batterer's problem, such treatment may be concurrent if conducted on an outpatient basis.

b. Substance abuse, mental health and mental capacity need to be well-documented.

A psychosocial assessment report must be completed and forwarded to the court within five working days of its being conducted. If the batterer is deemed unacceptable for treatment, the assessment should explain the basis for rejection and make appropriate recommendations concerning treatment options. There should also be established criteria for entry and rejection of batterers.


IV. PROGRAM ORIENTATION

Once an individual is accepted into a batterers treatment, provider must discuss program policies and procedures and have participant fill out relevant forms. Written policies and procedures should be provided to batterer concerning batterers contract with program, scope of confidentiality between program and batterer, program rules, referral resources, program notification requirements to the court, and other information.


V. PROGRAM SPECIFICS

A. Counseling and Treatment Groups

1. Group intervention for batterers is preferable; however, individual counseling may be provided on an as needed basis.

2. For cases in which there is a language barrier, separate groups should be formed, based on the needs of the local population.

3. For cases involving sexual orientation issues, separate groups should be formed to address these populations.

4. Groups must be gender specific for heterosexual, gay and lesbian populations.

5. Groups should be established to treat juvenile and youthful male and female batterers.

 

B. Core Curriculum

1. The minimum course requirements are:

a. The dynamics of domestic violence including pertinent issues of power and control, use of controlling behaviors, root causes, and intergenerational violence;

b. Roles and expectations in intimate relationships;

c. Effective communication skills;

d. Confronting isolation and developing support systems;

e. Appropriate conflict resolution and anger management skills;

f. Parenting skills;

g. Alcohol/drugs abuse and domestic violence.

Because these are only minimum course requirements, other course work and interactive exercises should be added to the providers curriculum.


VI. REFERRAL PROCESS/COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENTS

Those submitting RFP's must provide information concerning in-house capability to service clients presenting with a myriad of problems. Otherwise, providers should submit information concerning their partnerships with local community resource providers available to service their clientele. Services might include drug/alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, medical services, and other social services.


VII. STAFF OUALIFICATIONS

A. Prerequisite Credentials for Facilitators

1. For all facilitators, the program applicant must show that the following educational/work experience requirements are met. Each facilitator must have:

a. A bachelor's degree, preferably in psychology, social work, or counseling and;

b. 108 hours of direct face-to-face contact facilitating or co-facilitating batterers' groups using the power and control model; and

c. 40 hours of victim-centered training which may include providing advocacy to battered women and their children, conducting women's and children's groups, attending victim panels or presentations at which victims discuss their victimization and any other program or training where victim issues are taught.

or, in lieu of bachelors degree,

d. One year of equivalent experience involving direct contact work with victims and batterers and;

e. 78 hours of direct face-to-face contact facilitating or co-facilitating batterers' groups using the power and control model; and

f . 40 hours of victim-centered training which can include providing advocacy to battered women and their children, conducting women's and children's groups, attending victim panels or presentations at which victims discuss their victimization and any other program or training where victim issues are taught.

2. If an apprenticeship or "trainee" period is necessary to fulfill any of the prerequisite credentials for facilitators requirement, a trainee must work under the direction of a trained facilitator using the power and control model and a supervisor at a batterers' intervention program and under the direction of or in conjunction with a court or local certified domestic violence center. Experience and required face to face contact as described above may be voluntary or part of a university internship program, paid or unpaid, but must be documented by the program director.

3. Knowledge and Skills of Facilitators The facilitator must provide documentation verifying training in the following areas:

a. dynamics of domestic violence within the context of power and control;

b. effects of domestic violence on victims and their children and the critical nature of victim contacts and safety planning;

c. understanding that domestic violence is deeply rooted in historical attitudes toward women and is intergenerational;

d. lethality assessment for risks if homicide, suicide, further domestic violence, or other violent aggressive behaviors, and access to or use of weapons;

e. information on state and federal laws pertaining to domestic violence, including the policies affecting treatment of court-ordered program participants;

f. domestic violence and cultural diversity;

g. teaching non-controlling alternatives to violent and controlling behaviors.

4. Principal Duties of Facilitators

a. The principal duties of program facilitators are to:

(1) facilitate or co-facilitate weekly intervention groups utilizing the established curriculum and techniques;

(2) model appropriate boundary setting, confrontation, refraining, paraphrasing, reflection, and clarification;

(3) communicate non-hostility, respect, unconditional acceptance of ethnocultural and lifestyle differences;

(4) teach and model problem-solving skills and non-violent behavior options;

(5) recognize and process denial and minimization and other defense mechanisms;

(6) establish rapport and understanding in a non-judgmental and objective manner so as to build trust, reduce resistance, and elicit the necessary feedback to gauge understanding of intervention and information imparted;

(7) appropriately confront acts of domestic violence and other counterproductive behaviors;

(8) elicit self-disclosure to enhance participant's self-exploration; and

(9) maintain case notes regarding participation, cooperation and other pertinent information.

B. Prerequisite Credentials for Supervisors

1. For all supervisors, the program applicant must show that the following educational/work experience requirements are met:

a. A bachelor's degree and one year of experience involving direct contact work with victims and/or batterers; and

b. 78 hours of direct face-to-face contact facilitating or co-facilitating batterers' groups using the power and control model; and

c. 40 hours of victim-centered training which can include providing advocacy to battered women and their children, conducting women's and children's groups, attending victim panels or presentations at which victims discuss their victimization and any other program or training where victim issues are taught.

or, in lieu of a bachelor's degree

d. Two years of equivalent experience involving direct contact work with victims and batterers and;

e. 78 hours of direct face-to-face contact facilitating or co-facilitating batterers' groups using the power and control model; and

f. 40 hours of victim-centered training which can include providing advocacy to battered women and their children, conducting women's and children's groups, attending victim panels or presentations at which victims discuss their victimization and any other program or training where victim issues are taught.


VIII. MONITORING COMPONENT

The program monitoring component for batterers treatment programs are being developed. See Appendix B, a sample monitoring guide used by the Florida Department of Corrections, Office of Certification and Monitoring, Probation and Parole Programs Office.


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