Advancing the Narrative: Inspiring the Future

2015 conference logo

Advancing The Narrative: Inspiring The Future!
2015 International Conference
Dates: April 15th, 16th and 17th, 2015
Location: Crowne Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

In conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of BISC-MI


Conference Description: The role of intervention in addressing intimate partner violence has become distorted due to a combination of gender neutral advocates, flawed and misrepresented research and the increasing emphasis on evidence based practice. The result is that legislators and communities are withdrawing support from intervention programs and the resurgence of strategies that put victims at risk are being promoted. Programs are increasingly finding themselves under attack and having to respond to questions that that they are not prepared to answer.

BISC-MI has taken the lead in the last 20 years of bringing together some of the best faculty from around the world to address controversial issues and provide unequaled networking opportunities. This year is no exception. This conference is an unprecedented opportunity to hear and mingle with some of the leading experts from around the world. A variety of thought provoking plenary sessions will address topics of research, culture, women’s use of force and how the field can move forward. Additionally, there will be an assortment of workshops which will offer a smaller group experience to explore topics in depth. This conference is bringing together many of the leaders in the field to discuss how to reclaim the narrative and define the future of intervention programming with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and victim safety focus.  Come with your questions and challenges; leave energized, well informed and with new connections from around the country, This is a not to be missed opportunity and there are space limitations so sign up early to secure your place.

conference materials

Conference Materials

BREAKING NEWSBISC-MI is pleased to share the following information / guidance provided by the Department of Justice – Office on Violence Against Women regarding attendance approval for this Conference

The OVW programs listed below have conditionally approved their grantees to attend this conference: Grantees are required to contact their OVW program specialist to get approval specific to their award and to ensure that a Grant Adjustment Notice (GAN) is issued. A GAN must be completed before grantees commit or expend any funds related to attending this conference.

Grantees from the STOP program may be invited to attend this conference and do not have to contact OVW for prior approval. STOP subgrantees need approval from their STOP State Administrator. Grantees who are not required to get prior approval to attend this conference should be advised to place a “memo to the file” in their grant records indicating the conference approval reference number.

The reference number for this conference is OVW-2015-MU-007. This number must be used by grantees when requesting approval via a GAN or in their “memo to the file”. This approval and assigned reference number is for this conference only.

Registration Cost:

Early bird rate: $299.00 Members (after April 3, 2015 late fee add $50.00)
Early bird rate:  $399.00 Non Members (after April 3, 2015 late fee add $50.00)
Conference rate includes: Continental breakfast and lunch all 3 days!

 We now have an option for a 1 or 2 day registration!

Member Day Rate: $125.00 Per Day

Non Member Day Rate: $150.00 Per Day

20 BIPSCC CEUs (no extra fee)
20 Social Work CE Fee $40.00
This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative
Course Approval Number: 021815-00

Room Rates will be $75.00 for a double or a single!

(If you are calling for reservations, you must mention the BISC-MI Conference to get the reduced rate)

Airport Shuttle: The Crowne Plaza Hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from the Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport
(the shuttle is for that airport only) by calling: 616-957-1770


Register now!

Early registration and check in: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Day 1 Agenda – April 15, 2015

7:45 am-8:30 am Registration and Continental Breakfast provided

8:30 am-9:00 am Conference Welcome Day 1

9:00 am-10:30 am Plenary #1 Examining Our Early Mission:  Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead

Faculty: Michael Paymar

Description: Batterer treatment programs emerged on the scene thirty-five years ago. Some programs were started by women and pro-feminist men, and others were created as part of coordinated community response. This approach promoted accountable for offenders which included an opportunity for rehabilitation. In the early years, many advocates in the United States and Europe were skeptical of offender treatment programs. They were concerned over the use of limited community resources, different philosophies about what causes men’s violence against women and how to stop it, treatment approaches and the need for accountability. Those controversies still exist today. In this plenary presentation, former State Representative Michael Paymar co-founder of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (the Duluth Model) looks back at our early roots, what we have learned, the current debate and the challenges ahead. Using the content of 3rd edition of his book Violent No More: Helping Men End Domestic Abuse and his documentary With Impunity: Men and Gender Violence co-written with his colleague the late Ellen Pence, Michael provides a historical perspective of our field.
10:30 am-10:45 am Break

10:45 am-12:15 pm Plenary #2 Aquila Rising:  National BIP Organization Addressing the Role of Intervention

Faculty: Jeff Cape, Graham Barnes
Description: Recent discussion of men’s IPV, and the actions of some legislator’s practitioners and researchers, actually endangers victims. Practices labeled as ‘evidence based’ are promoted as panaceas, ignoring years of agency relationships that prioritize victim safety and offender accountability. Aquila is a forum of experienced practitioners and researchers with knowledge and compassion for victims and offenders. Aquila critiques research for victim safety and autonomy and the cultural needs of each community.
12:15 pm-1:15 pm Lunch Provided
1:15 pm-2:45 pm Plenary #3 Sports Culture and the Role of Batterer Intervention
Faculty: Tony Porter
Description: Our recent history has experienced community outrage regarding the need for domestic violence and sexual assault accountability in sports culture.  This session will explore several topics of interest; race, class, trauma, role of athletic coaches, men’s healing and accountable behavior. In addition we examine not only the need for accountability in sports culture but also the positive impact it can have on domestic and sexual violence prevention.  Closing with the question, “what’s the role for batterer intervention?” in the midst of it all.
2:45 pm-3:00 pm Break

3:00 pm-4:30 pm Workshop Selection

Workshop #1a Intersectionality: An Essential Framework for Addressing Male Intimate Partner Violence Against Women
Faculty: Ulester Douglas
Description: One of the critiques of programs for men who batter women is that most of them lack analysis and practices that are responsive to marginalized men and their communities.  Specifically, these programs are said to be structured to align with the needs of white middle class men and the criminal justice system. The goal of this session is to discuss why programs for men who abuse women must function at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. if their goal is safety for women and their children.
Workshop #1b Profiling Killers: Descriptions of life histories, risk factors and motivations posed by men who kill their intimate partners
Faculty: David Adams
Description: Brief overview of research about intimate partner homicides and lethality risk factors. Description of different types of killers in terms of their motivations.
Workshop #1c Reentering the Community After Incarceration & Speaking of Faith: Coming Home to the Survivor and Keeping a Peaceful Home
Faculty: Oliver Williams
Description: This workshop will explore two separate topics: 1) The issue of Prisoner Reentry back to the community, after incarceration for a range of criminal activity and 2) How churches can be a primary, secondary and tertiary prevention models. Regarding reentry, 750,000 batterers return to the community from prison every year. Between 1/3 to 1/2 have histories of violence. Also many return back to prison because of intimate partner violence. Although some programs address the issues in prison most programs do not. Little attention is given to the issue while the person is on parole, unless he was sent to prison for domestic violence. This presentation will discuss some of the products of the Safe Return Initiative associated with Batterer Intervention both curriculum and DVD’s. The second portion is called speaking of Faith which address domestic violence issue and how some faith communities include domestic violence among their ministries. This will include addressing and in some cases including working with men who batter.
Workshop #1d Perpetrators as Parents: How setting high expectations for men as fathers helps men, women and children
Faculty: David Mandel
Description: Cultural double standards for men and women as parents harm men, women and children. When domestic violence is involved, perpetrators can gain significant benefits in courts and other systems that ignore the relationship between his choices and negative outcomes for child and family functioning. In this workshop, David will discuss how to examine the impact of gendered parenting expectations on programs and community collaboration and how setting higher expectations for men as a parents can improve outcomes for families.
5:00 pm-7:00 pm Dinner – On your own

Day 2 Agenda – April 16, 2015

7:15 am-7:45 am Continental Breakfast Provided

7:45 am-8:00 am Welcome Day 2
8:00 am-9:30 am Plenary #4 Reclaiming the narrative of BIPs
Faculty: Etiony Aldarondo
Description: The narrative on the effectiveness of BIPS has been hijacked by misrepresentation of research, flawed research and an emphasis on cost effectiveness as the primary criteria for deciding what programs to fund and utilize. This plenary session will focus on what the research about intervention really says, demystify and clarify what evidence based intervention means and how to critically analyze research. A presentation of the results of a promising in-depth study from the UK will also be presented.  Designed to provide participants with information that will allow them to have a clear understanding of current research and improve their ability to accurately educate community partners.
9:30 am-9:45 am Break
9:45 am-11:15 am Plenary #5 Why We Should Address Diversity in Intervention Programs: Enhancing Intervention Programs & Expanding the Conversation
Faculty: Oliver Williams, Ulester Douglas, Jeremy NeVilles-Sorrell, and Fernando Mederos
Description: In the field of domestic violence we typically operate from a pro-feminist perspective and cognitive behavioral approach. Although very helpful and important, most batterers tend to be resistant to education and treatment. Is what we are doing enough, or are some programs missing something that may engage batterers on this issue even more? The purpose of this panel is to explore what may engage men in BIP’s even more based on their social context, their faith tradition or their culture.
11:15 am-12:45 pm Plenary #6 Private Violence
Faculty: Kit Gruelle
Description: Private Violence is an intimate portrayal of the complexities battered women face in the American criminal justice system. The film follows Deanna Walters as she seeks justice for herself and her young daughter after her estranged husband kidnapped them and took them across-country in an 18-wheeler. During the 6-day trip, while his cousin drove the truck, he beat Deanna mercilessly. After the truck was finally stopped and Deanna was released from the hospital after Deanna and Martina returned to North Carolina, the local prosecutor told Deanna he would only charge Robbie with one count of Assault on a Female, a misdemeanor. He demanded to know why she didn’t “just run.” Private Violence also follows the work of advocates who work with battered women to support and believe in them as they move through their own personal process of learning to leave the violence and abuse behind.
12:45 pm-1:45 pm Lunch Provided
1:45 pm-2:45 pm Plenary #7 Using a Perpetrator Pattern-Based Approach to Reduce Mother-Blaming, Increase Accountability for Perpetrators as Parents and Improve Collaboration with Child Protection
Faculty: David Mandel
Description: Drawing on his experience working with child welfare systems in the US and abroad, David will talk about how a holistic focus on the specific behaviors of domestic violence perpetrators can shift the conversation about children and domestic violence from reigning paradigm of “failure to protect/blame the mother” to a focus on accountability for perpetrators as parents.  David will also discuss the characteristics of a domestic violence-informed child welfare system, and how a clearer picture of nexus between perpetrators’ behavior patterns and child abuse and neglect can help improve collaboration between child welfare and batterer intervention programs.
2:45 pm-3:00 pm Break

3:00 pm-4:30 pm Workshop Selection

Workshop #2a Motivating Change in Abusers: Humanizing Oppression Theory
Faculty: Chris Hall
Description: In motivating abusers to make choices that are respectful and healthy, it is important to humanize discussion topics and interventions. Abusers can be challenging to work with, primarily when facilitators deal with resistance, hostility, and manipulative behavior. Since oppression theories are often key to reducing entitlement and dismissiveness, how can facilitators talk about topics that can be both taboo and inflammatory? This workshop will seek to discuss this point and offer tools for engaging in discussions with abusers, regardless of the BIP model that is used for intervention.
Workshop #2b Ethical Considerations in Batterer Intervention Services
Faculty: Bob Agnoli
Description: Facilitators or coordinators of Batterers Intervention Programs are faced with ethical decisions that impact group participants, their partners, the court system, our co-facilitators, our programs, and the profession as a whole. This interactive workshop is designed to broaden our understanding and implementation of ethical principles and create strategies for addressing ethical dilemmas.  Though primarily focused on work with perpetrators of intimate partner violence, much of the material can apply to other kinds of social service work.
Workshop #2c In a Class by Themselves: Intervening with Psychopathic DV Perpetrators
Faculty: Chris Huffine
Description: Most abuse intervention programs offer a single track for all DV offenders, with the presumption that all are struggling with the same issue. This “one size fits all” approach has come under fire in recent years. Of greatest concern is placing more psychopathic DV offenders in the same groups with non-psychopathic DV offenders. There is an extensive body of research questioning this practice for a variety of reasons. This workshop will outline some of the key differences between psychopathic and non-psychopathic DV perpetrators, why they should not be mixed and outlines of an alternative curriculum and facilitation style that may be a better match.
Workshop #2d Batterer Intervention Programs as Research Partners
Faculty: Etiony Aldarondo & Neil Blacklock
Description:  This workshop will explore the disconnect between research and practice and provide ways for researchers and practitioners to develop effective partnerships that can more accurately assess the impact intervention has on individuals and communities.
4:30 pm-4:45 pm Break
4:45 pm-5:45 pm Plenary #8 Domestic Violence Courts: Innovative Strategies for Enhancing Offender Accountability and Victim Safety
Faculty: Rebecca Thomforde Hauser
Description: The goals of domestic violence courts nationally are to increase offender accountability and victim safety. The Center for Court Innovation has worked with courts nationally and internationally over the past 15 years to enhance court responses to domestic violence cases. This workshop will provide practical strategies and lessons learned from the domestic violence courts through examination of strategies for collaboration with community stakeholders; review of evidence based best practice; and through innovative court protocol examples. In addition, there will be an emphasis on the research and evaluation component involved in the development of the domestic violence courts. The research to date and the goals of the on-going evaluation will be discussed.
5:45 pm Dinner on your own

Day 3 Agenda – April 17, 2015

7:45 am-8:15 am Continental Breakfast Provided

8:15 am-8:30 am Welcome Day 3 

8:30 am-10:00 am Plenary #9 International Perspectives on Challenges & Opportunities for Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programs: Innovations and shapeshifting landscapes in Australia and the United Kingdom

Faculty: Neil Blacklock & Rodney Vlais
Description: In Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe, Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes have been developing and evolving for over 25 years. During this period services have been adapting in response to research, their interaction with criminal, family and civil justice systems, their place in relation to the wider violence against women movement and the communities in which they operate. The session will focus on a range of program innovations, integration with services working with partners and ex-partners, program accreditation, co-location alongside children’s services and work with family justice systems. The UK and Australia have significant numbers of men accessing services “voluntarily” with men’s perpetrator domestic violence helplines assisting with referral generation. In a challenging funding environment requiring continual program evolution to work towards sustainable funding, we will share some our thoughts on what is on the horizon for Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes in our countries, and explore with participants international reflections, relevance and resonance.
10:00 am-10:15 am Break 
10:15 am-11:45 am Plenary #10 The Diversity of Women’s Experiences Navigating Coercive Control: Voices from the United States and Hong Kong
Faculty: Lisa Young Larance, Susan Miller, Anna Choi and Shamita Das Dasgupta
Description: This keynote session begins with an overview of the changes in criminal justice policies that have resulted in increased arrests of women who have used force against their partners/ex-partners. With this framework, the presenters will share their ongoing evidence-based research regarding women’s responses to intimate partner violence and/or coercive control. The centerpiece of this work is a schematic approach to categorize the diversity of more than 200 women’s motivations for their use of force. Through the lens of cultural competency, presenters will discuss intervention and practice issues with experiential data from the Midwestern U.S., the Eastern seaboard, and Hong Kong, China.  Recommendations will be made for effective practice and contextualized research which highlights the gendered nuances of violence perpetration.

11:45 am-12:00 pm Break

12:00 pm-1:00 pm Lunch Provided

1:00 pm-2:00 pm Plenary #11 Zero Tolerance: A Critical Conversation

Faculty: Kim Gandy
Description: Recent high-profile events have resulted in expanded sectors of public opinion leaders and policy makers calling for Zero Tolerance of Domestic Violence. This pivotal moment in time presents an exceptional opportunity to advance the conversation beyond slogans, sound bites and speeches to reality-based intervention and prevention initiatives to promote survivor safety, perpetrator accountability and change social norms. Along with that opportunity comes a profound obligation to ensure that any initiatives and polices that result are informed by the complex realities of individual survivors’ lives.  Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence will provide perspective and lead discussion on this timely issue, applying a critical-thinking framework to expand the definition and deepen the discussion of zero tolerance as it applies to domestic violence.

2:00 pm-2:15 pm Break

2:15 pm-3:15 pm Workshop Selection

Workshop #3a Sustainability, Transitioning and Collaborations between BIPs and Probation
Faculty: Jim Henderson & Graham Barnes
Description: Continuity of purpose between probation and batterer programs is enhanced by a common focus on victim safety, sharing of safety and risk information, and engaged participants. A coordinated response makes it safer for everyone; not just victims. Practitioners gain from multidisciplinary approaches and everyone has each other’s back This session shows how the process can be respectful, yet challenging; staff from all agencies learn from each other, including victims and advocates.
Workshop #3b Stepping Out from Interventionist to Activist
Faculty: Jeremy Nevilles-Sorell
Description: Indigenous teachings tells us there is a natural cycle of learning that goes through begins with developing, then experimenting, implementing, and finally teaching. We start working with men who are in the development stage and when they apply that knowledge in their daily lives they are experimenting. Those involved in the BIP movement know we have a personal obligation to society to act; we implement what we’ve learned and speak out in the community and within our families. On the national scope we are beginning to realize that intervention is not enough and BIP programs have to figure out how we step outside our doors and pass our knowledge on to future programs and men coming into this work.
Workshop #3c What’s Wrong With this Picture: Examining Intersectionality of the Harms of Men’s viewing of pornography and the links to other forms of men’s violence
Faculty: Rus Funk
Description: Large numbers of adolescent and adult men view pornography.  With the growth of the internet, increasing number and proportions of men consume pornography or are exposed to it on a regular basis.  This is occurring in a context of limited accessibility to comprehensive sexuality education, virtually none of which is gender specific.  Meaning pornography is, for many men, the primary and preferred source of sexuality education. In this workshop, the evidence of the consequences of men’s use of pornography on their understanding and expression of masculinity, views of women and girls, attitudes and behaviors related to sex and sexuality, and attitudes and behaviors related to sexual and domestic violence, including sex trafficking/prostitution, will be explored.  An  initiative to engage men in a critical dialogue about the harms of viewing pornography, will be described.

Workshop #3d Assessment & Engagement: Finding the Right Shoe

Faculty: Jeffrie Cape
Description: Assessment, When? How? What? Assessment is one of the hot topics for programs and communities. Many programs are using limited resources to collect lots of information that is not necessarily helpful or necessary for program participation. This workshop will explore components of assessment, how to figure out what assessment fits a programs needs and how to utilize assessment effectively.
3:15 pm-3:30 pm Break
3:30 pm-4:30 pm Plenary #12 Inspire the Future!
Faculty: TBD
Description: A final plenary focused on the future, designed to leave participants inspired and reinvigorated.
4:30 pm-5:00 pm Wrap up and Prizes!


Click here to learn more about the 25 faculty who are from around the world!

Conference Sponsors

Sponsor webpage

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Accommodations & Facility


Lodging Rates at Crowne Plaza in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Room Rates will be $75.00 for a double or a single!

In order to get the reduced room rate you must click this link


Hotel Address5700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Hotel Phone: 616.957.1770 (If you are calling for reservations, you must mention the BISC-MI Conference to get the reduced rate)

The Crowne Plaza is in a great spot with lots of things around it and easy access off the highway and 5 minutes from the airport on east side of Grand Rapids!

The tax is 15% (9% all pay and 6% state tax if you aren’t tax exempt. You must supply an exemption form and use an organizational form of payment

You must make your room reservations separate from your conference registration, rooms at this rate are limited!


Click Experience Grand Rapids for information for things to do and

places to dine in Grand Rapids