DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MALE BATTERER PROGRAMS
COORDINATION COUNCIL TO PREVENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INTERVENTION
STANDARDS FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MALE
BATTERER PROGRAMS 1.0
To aid in the elimination of domestic violence by providing standards for
effective and accountable intervention programs t change the behavior of
batterers, while protecting women and children.
PURPOSE OF STANDARDS
2.0 Declaration of Principles
Wayne County subscribes to the following principles:
2.1 Domestic Violence is a crime rather than a result of or response to
a failing relationship. It is no less a crime than an assault on a stranger.
2.2 Domestic Violence cannot be condoned, and batterers must be held accountable
for their behavior.
2.3 The safety of victims must be of the highest priority. Their input
and the potential for further harm to them must always be of utmost
consideration when making policy/program decisions.
2.4 The use of violence is a learned behavior and is therefore changeable.
2.5 Programs shall not focus on saving relationships, but on ending violence.
2.6 There should be separate intervention programs for men and women who
batter. This first set of standards are for programs for male batterers
since they constitute the vast majority of batterers.
2.7 All batterers shall be provided services regardless of race, gender,
ethnicity, sexual preferences and physical or mental disability. Providers
shall make every reasonable effort to provide for individual needs.
2.8 Program providers shall cooperate with the interrelated agencies,
such as law enforcement, shelter staff, other advocates, prosecuting
agencies, the judicial system and corrections. are superior to women
and have the right to dominate them. To the extent that communities support
this belief, batterers will continue to engage in abusive behavior.
2.9 A principan cause for the high prevalance of woman is the batterers'
acceptance of the belief that men are superior to women and have the
right to dominate them. To the extent that communities support this belief,
batterers will continue to engage in abusive behavor
2.10 Communities must empower battered women by providing resources which
enable them to leave abusive relationships if they choose.
2.11 As knowledge about current, appropriate intervention methods are discovered,
philosophical and programmatic changes may be necessary to improve
For the purpose of these Standards, and as a reference for those who provide
treatment to perpetrators of domestic violence, the definition of domestic
violence shall be understood as follows:
3.0 DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
3.1 Abuse means intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting
to cause bodily injury, or placing another person in a reasonable apprehension
of imminent serious bodily injury to him or herself.
Domestic Violence is abuse committed against a spouse, a former
spouse, person residing or having resided with the offender or a person
with whom the offender has had a child in common.
While physical abuse is generally the reason men are referred or court-mandated
to the programs, physical abuse rarely if ever occurs in isolation without
abusive and/or controlling behaviors - some legal, some illegal. Those behaviors
include use of threats, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, manipulative
use of children, isolation and coercive enforcement of sex role stereotypes.
In presenting definitions of woman abuse, the program should explain that
men use violence and abuse as methods to gain power and control over their
3.2 There is no behavior on the part of the victim that causes or excuses
domestic violence. The perpetrator bears the sole responsibility for
3.3 Substance abuse or psychopathology do not diminish responsibility
4.1 Intervention Program
a. Each intervention program provider shall be a Michigan Corporation,
in good standing, with a governing board.
b. Each intervention program provider shall have professional liability
and any other insurance required by Michigan law.
c. Service providers, agencies and individuals conducting batterer's groups
must meet standards outlined by professional groups with which they
are affiliated, e.g., the American Psychological Association, National
Association of Social Workers, or the American Medical Association,
to the extent that those are consistent with the protocols in this document.
d. Each program shall maintain open, cooperative working relationships
and communications with other agencies, and particularly the local
e. Each program shall establish a working relationship with the courts,
police departments, prosecuting agencies, and particularly the local
f. Each program shall have the responsibility to report to the court and/or
local police department continued acts or threats of violence reported
by any offender who is court- referred into a program. Program providers
have a statutory duty to warn the victim if the perpetrator of abuse
poses a threat to the victim.
In Michigan, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers by statute
have the "duty to warn" a potential victim that serious harm is
likely to be inflicted upon him or her, if there exists a special relationship
with the potential assailant. (See Appendix A[MCLA339.1610 (20, (3) 330.1750
(5). Section 946 of the Mental Health Code, Act. No 258 of the Public Acts
of 1974, section 330.1946 of MCLA].)
Duty to warn is a critical issue for domestic violence agencies that have
batterer's re-education/counseling programs. In the domestic violence literature
there are significant numbers of cases where the batterer told his therapist
he was going to kill his ex-wife, partner, etc., and then did it. For programs
that provide batterer's re-education/counselling the responsibility of "duty
to warn" is essential to ensure that survivors are not re-assaulted
or killed by their batterers. to these issues, other traditional social
service agencies providing batterer's counseling may not immediately recognize
how lethal threats made by a batterer in a counseling relationship can be.
Domestic violence programs for this and other reasons must work closely
with batterers re-education programs to stop violent behavior and to protect
g. Each program provider shall clearly document efforts to report recurring
h. Each program provider shall maintain the confidentiality of victims,
unless it is specifically waived by the victim, or there is reasonable
cause to believe that the victim may be in imminent danger. Programs
shall not coerce victims to waive their right to confidentiality.
i. Each program provider shall maintain separate files on victims and
j. Each court mandated batterer shall sign a waiver of confidentiality
upon entering the program. Such waiver shall, at the minimum, allow the
treatment program to notify the victim and the court of the batterer's
participation in the program.
k. Each program provider shall make every reasonable effort to inform
the victim about the batterer's attendance at the program; the program
must inform the victim as to noncompliance.
l. Program providers shall have access to the batterer's criminal history
record, police records and court files.
m. Each program provider shall develop a written agreement with its referring
courts about procedures when the batterer re-offends or fails to comply
with the treatment contract.
a. All staff employed in a batterers program must be violence free in
their own lives. No program shall hire an individual who has been a perpetrator
of domestic violence unless the program director is satisfied that the
potential staff member has successfully completed a certified batterer's
treatment program and has had no further arrests for a minimum of 6
months after completion of the batterer's program.
4.2 Program Staff.
b. All staff employed in a program must not use illegal drugs or alcohol
to an extent or in a manner that is determined to impair the individual's
ability to function in a responsible, professional manner.
c. Staff members employed in a batterer's program shall not have a criminal
record or any other history of conduct, criminal or otherwise, deemed
to impair the individual's ability to provide services.
d. The program provider shall provide orientation for all new employees
to acquaint them with the program's philosophy, organization, treatment
program, policies, procedures and goals.
e. Programs shall have staff who are reflective of ethnic and linguistic
minorities within the communities served.
f. Program staff must be educated on sexism, racism, and homophobia and
their impact on violent attitudes and behaviors.
All persons providing intervention with perpetrators of domestic violence
must meet the following criteria:
4.3 Staff Standards
a. Licensing Requirements: staff members directly involved in individual
counseling, group counseling, or facilitating the educational component
of the program, shall be licensed, certified or registered by the State
of Michigan in the performance of those services.
b. All supervisory personnel shall have additional training in and experience
in working with both batterers and victims of domestic violence.
c. Each program is required to have at least one person in a supervisory
position who has experience working with batterers victims of domestic
violence totaling 3 years.
d. Each program is required to have at least one person in a supervisory
position who has three (3) years of experience in group facilitation.
e. Each staff member shall have participated in a minimum of 24 hours
of training in domestic violence from an established batterer's treatment
program provider. ongoing staff training with seminars, workshops, conferences,
etc. presented by experts in domestic violence.
The standards which follow are the minimum to which a program must adhere
to receive court referred clients.
5.0 PROGRAM STANDARDS
The provider must have necessary preliminary information prior to engaging
in an evaluation process to determine the suitability of the batterer
for their program.
5.2 The program provider shall require the following information from
the probation department and/or the batterer at intake:
a. Name, address and phone number of perpetrator.
b. Social security number
c. Medical insurance, if any
e. Partner and/or victim's name, address and phone number
f. Copy of criminal records
g. A history of substance use
h. A history of any psychiatric illness including but not limited to threats
or ideation of homicide or suicide, history of depression, paranoia
i . A history of the perpetrator's infliction of abuse as defined in Section
j. Police reports on current charge and prior calls to the police department
k. The perpetrator's possession or access to weapons. rofile of the batterer's
violent behavior shall be developed, based on descriptions from criminal
justice agencies, the victim(s), and other treatment providers. If it
is determined, based on the above, that the batterer will not be appropriate
for the program, it will be indicated to the court at this time.
5.3 One week after notification from the court that a batterer has been
referred to a program as a condition of probation, if the batterer has
not contacted the provider, the provider shall contact the probation
5.4 Batterer Evaluation At intake, an evaluation of the batterer shall
be conducted and shall include, but not be limited to, the following.
a. Obtaining background information on the batterer, violence used in
his family of origin, his partner(s), his relationships, criminal history
and pending court actions.
b. Obtaining from the batterer a descriptive history of his use of violence
and other abuse behaviors including those both within and outside intimate
relationship. Special attention shall be given to possible incidents
of child abuse or neglect by the batterer.
c. The degree of possessiveness by the perpetrator toward the victim including
if possible any forced periods of isolation inflicted on the victim by
d. Assessing batterers for severe mental health problems or disruptive
behavior, screening them out of the program and, when possible, referring
to appropriate treatment.
e. Screening for chemical dependency problems and arranging if necessary
for further chemical dependency evaluations and treatment prior to entry
f. In so far as possible, assessing the degree of current risk to the
battered woman or others. This should include information gathered directly
from the victim about the batterer's use of violence and other abuse
behaviors, provided such contact with the battered woman can be done
g. Determining the precipitation incident.
h. Identifying the referral source.
5.5 The program must evaluate the batterer's potential for lethality,
with particular responsibility to warn victims deemed to be at risk
(see Section 4. If, Duty to Warn). All victims must be warned that lethality
or continued violence is impossible to predict.
5.6 The intake evaluation process should be no less than three (3) hours
in two (2) separate sessions; not in the same twenty-four(24) hour period.
The process shall concentrate on the batterer's suitability for the program.
Data to be considered are the batterer's:
b. Cooperation with the rules
d. Freedom from violent/abusive behavior
e. Compliance with remaining alcohol or drug free during sessions.
The program should establish a contract which clearly spells out the obligations
of the batterer to the program and review the contract with the batterer.
5.8 Substance Abuse
If the initial intake evaluation indicates drug/or alcohol abuse, this should
be addressed wither prior to, or in conjunction with, the batterers' programming.
Referrals to other agencies for specialized treatment should be initiated
in those circumstances. Violence cannot be successfully addressed without
treating the substance abuse problem. However, treatment for substance abuse
may not be substituted for a batterers program. Batterers shall not be under
the influence of drugs and alcohol when participating in group session.
eglect of Children and Other Family Members. If the intake evaluation or
subsequent contact causes staff members to have reasonable cause to suspect
or to learn of actual incidents of child abuse or neglect, that information
must be reported to the Department of Social Services. The program shall
refer suspected cases of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation
to the Department on Aging's Elder Abuse and Neglect program.
5.9 Abuse and Neglect of Children and other family members
If the intake evaluation or subsequent contact causes staff members to have
reasonable cause to suspect or learn of actual incidents of child abuse
or neglect, that information must be reported to the Department of Social
Services. The program shall refer suspected cases of elder abuse, neglect
and financial exploitation to the Department on Aging's Elder Abuse and
5.10 Program provider must report back to the court/probation department
any failure to attend, or failure to cooperate and participate by the
referred perpetrator, as it occurs.
Each program must have a clearly defined payment policy including provisions
for indigent batterers. Batterers are expected to contribute to the payment
of the program. Section 4a (2) of M.C.L.A. 769.4a provides for (the accused
to pay the reasonable costs of the program. 6.1 The fee for the intake and
evaluation phase of the program may be charged separately from the fees
for the program.
6.0 FEE STRUCTURE
6.2 Fees for group programs shall be based on a batterer's ability to
pay and thus enabling the batterer to afford the program.
6.3 Indigent batterers may negotiate a deferred payment schedule, but
shall pay at least a nominal fee for the program at the discretion of
the program provider.
6.4 The payment of the fee may be made a condition of probation.
7.0 INTERVENTION METHODOLOGY
a. Composition of groups shall be restricted to batterers of domestic
abuse who are of the same gender. Heterosexual groups are not appropriate
for gay men who are convicted of domestic abuse. Programs should identify
counseling professionals in the community who are knowledgeable about
gay and lesbian issues and domestic violence in order to make appropriate
referrals. A Program of no less than thirty-nine (39) hours spread over
a period of no less than twenty-six (26) weekly sessions separate from
the intake evaluation.
b. A batterer shall attend a program of no less than thirty-nine (39)
hours spread over a period of no less than twenty-six (26) weekly sessions
separate from the intake evaluation process.
c. Groups shall provide ample opportunity for participation in discussions
and for feed back to each perpetrator.
d. Ongoing groups, for repeat or felony offenders or for advance work
shall consist of not more than twelve (12) participants. Groups for first
offenders deemed suitable, and others evaluated as suitable, shall have
a maximum of eighteen (18) participants.
7.2 Educational Component
The curriculum of the educational component shall at a minimum include:
a. Identification, confrontation and change of abusive and controlling
behaviors to victims including partners and children. All forms of physical
abuse and intimidation shall be identified and challenged. Specific
attention to emotional, mental, sexual and economic abuse, male privilege
and the impact of domestic violence on children shall also be included.
b. Identification, practice and discussion of the effects of violence
and abuse on victims, including children who witness such abuse. The
short and long term effects of violence on partners and children shall
be enumerated. Batterers shall be taught that they are expected to take
responsibility for creating these consequences. The program staff shall
understand, present and teach batterers to see the perspective of the
c. Confrontation of the excuses for abuse. This shall include the fact
that abuse is the sole choice and responsibility of the batterer's abuse
is never justified.
d. Identification and practice of cooperative and non-abusive forms of
communication. Batterers are expected to learn non-abusive and responsible
ways of treating their partners and children.
e. Identification of cultural and social influences that contribute to
abusive behavior. These issues shall not be allowed to excuse or justify
individual responsibility for abuse. terer's term of probation, unless
extended by the court.
Mandatory participation by the batterer shall not extend beyond the batterer's
term of probation, unless extended by the court.
7.4 Individual Counseling
It is recognized that a limited number of batterers may need individual
counseling. Individuals who are inappropriate for group, such as a person
who is actively psychotic in behavior, may be provided individual treatment
for their domestic violence behavior, accompanied by medical and psychiatric
7.5 Inappropriate methods of Intervention
a. Programs may include but shall not emphasize any of the following:
fair arguing "education", getting in touch with emotions,
male responsibility, conflict resolution, or anger management.
b. Couple and Family Counseling
Traditional couples counseling, family therapy and mediation are inappropriate
as primary intervention for batterers. Such approaches, where partners
are seen jointly, avoid fixing sole responsibility on the batterer and
blame the victims (in whole or in part) for the abuse. These approaches
may perpetuate the abuse by giving batterers a sense of support for their
actions and may endanger the victim by placing her in the position of self-
disclosing information that the batterer may subsequently use against
her. They minimize power differences between family members and leave
victims at a disadvantage.
c. Psychoanalytic individual or group therapy which centers causality
of violence in the past of the perpetrator.
d. Communication enhancement groups or techniques.
e. Anger management groups which lay primary causality on anger
f. Systems theory approaches which treat the violence as a mutually circular
g. Addiction counseling models which identify the violence as an addiction
and the victim as an enabler or a co-dependent.
h. Gradual containment and de-escalation of violence.
i. Theories or techniques which identify poor impulse control as the primary
cause of the violence
j. Methods which identify psychopathology on either parties part as a
primary cause of violence
k. Theories or methods which, in any way, bring the victim into the circle
of responsibility for the batterer's behavior .
Programs shall have clearly defined discharge criteria incorporated in the
contract provided to the batterer and the program at the intake process.
8.0 DISCHARGE CRITERIA
8.1 Programs completion shall include:
a. A batterer shall have completed the program according to the contract;
b. A batterer has accepted responsibility for violent behavior;
c. A batterer has completed, or will continue in , an allied program,
d. A batterer has met the financial obligation for the treatment.
8.2 Program responsibilities upon completion:
a. The program shall notify the referring court/probation department of
the perpetrator's attendance;
b. The victim shall be notified by the program provider of the batterer's
completion of the program. The notification shall indicate only that
there has been contractual and court compliance. The program shall advise
the victim that discharge is not predictive of recidivism.
8.3 Removal from the program:
a. A batterer shall be removed form the program upon violation of a contractual
provision such as failure to attend two (2) or more scheduled sessions
without a valid excuse or the use of illegal drugs or excessive use of
alcohol, or other behavior such as sleeping or disruptive acting out.
b. A batterer shall be removed and returned to the court if the batterer
exhibits an imminent, subtantial threat to the victim, other batterers
or program personnel or property.
8.4 Program responsibilities upon removal from the program:
a. Criminal Court/probation department and Prosecutor's Office notified
of the removal from the program and why;
b. The victim shall be notified.
c. The program shall have a written policy available to the court regarding
the program's responsibility for accepting batterers that have not completed
the program or are reordered into the program.
Standards Adopted September, 1995