(Fifth Draft)

These standards are promulgated by the judges of the Cleveland Municipal Court to establish the minimum requirements that the court will expect from any program wishing to provide batterer intervention service to defendants who have been convicted by this court and required, as a condition of probation, to undergo domestic violence counseling. Nothing in these standards shall be read to prohibit any program from exceeding the minimum requirements contained herein. However, the probation department is hereby prohibited from placing any defendant who the court has ordered into domestic violence counseling into any program that has not been approved and certified as providing at least the minimum requirements outlined herein.


All programs seeking to provide batterer intervention services to referrals from the Cleveland Municipal Court shall have as their primary goal the elimination of domestic violence. In addition, each such agency shall provide satisfactory evidence to the court's Chief Probation officer that the program services which are provided are:

1. Accountable to the prior and potential victims of the defendants referred with regard to issues of safety;

2. Confrontive of the aggressive behavior of batterers;

3. Supportive of the need for and the process of behavioral change by those who batter;

4. Accountable to the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council of Cleveland.

5. Coordinated with the community agencies which address the problem of domestic violence in Cleveland;

6. Cognizant of cultural and ethnic sensibilities; and

7. In accordance with Ohio Domestic Violence Network's Standards for offense Specific Batterer's Intervention Programs.


All batterer intervention programs used by this court shall have, at a minimum, the following components:

I. Intake and Assessment Component

II. Participation Agreement Component

III. Educational Component

IV. Counseling Component

Staff Education and Training Component

VI. Security Plan Component

VII. Alcohol and Drug Detection Component

VIII. Reporting Component

IX. Sliding Fee Component

I. Intake and Assessment Component.

All batterer's intervention programs shall admit a defendant based on an intake procedure that results in the conclusion that the intervention required can be appropriately provided by the program. The intake and assessment procedures shall require:

1. A written referral from the probation department be presented to the program before the defendant is allowed to enroll.

2. Procedures to inform the victim that the defendant has been required to participate in the intervention program, as well as available victim resources. The victim shall be informed that attendance in any program does not guarantee that the defendant will not be violent. The procedures shall not include any requirement that the victim participate nor shall any program condition a defendant's enrollment on participation by the victim.

3. Written definitions of physical, emotional, sexual, economic, and verbal abuse, and the techniques for stopping such abuse be provided to the defendant.

4. An assessment of the defendant be conducted which includes but is not limited to:

a. An offense history including frequency, duration, and degree of aggression.

b. An assessment of dangerousness to self or others.

c. An assessment of other addictive and abusive behaviors.

d. An assessment of risk of re-offense and potential response to intervention.

e. An assessment of current access to victims and potential victims.

f. An assessment-of-the defendant's--cognitive functioning as it relates to the defendant's ability to engage in and respond to a cognitive approach to behavioral change.

The assessment of the defendant shall be made available to the probation department upon request. Further, should the assessment reveal specific issues concerning potential harm to the complainant or any other issues pertaining to lethality or substance abuse, the probation department shall be immediately notified

5. A written treatment plan that is based upon an assessment of the defendant's abusive behavior and identified treatment needs.

6. Procedures giving the program the right to assess whether or not the defendant would benefit from the program and the right to refuse to enroll the defendant if it is determined that the defendant would not benefit from the program, as long as the refusal to enroll is not based upon the defendant's race color creed, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age or inability to pay.

7. Procedures to provide for an alternate referral, where appropriate, when a defendant is refused enrollment in the program.

II. Participation Agreement Component

All batterer's intervention programs shall enter into a written participation agreement with a defendant which includes an outline of the contents of the program, the attendance requirements, the fees assigned, the requirement to attend group sessions free of mind altering chemical influence, and a statement that the defendant may be removed from the program and referred back to the court as a probation violator if it is determined that the defendant is not actively participating, is disruptive of the program or otherwise violates the terms of the participation agreement. The participation agreement shall include:


1. A written statement that the defendant shall be held accountable for acts or -threats of -domestic-.violence during the period of participation and court supervision.

2. A written confidentiality statement that prohibits the defendant from disclosing any information obtained through participating in the group sessions regarding any other participants in the program.

III. Educational Component.

A batterer's intervention program shall provide educational programming that examines, at a minimum, gender roles, socialization, cultural components, substance abuse, the nature of violence, the intergenerational cycle of violence, the dynamics of power and control, the ef f ects of abuse on children and others including the loss of family income and the impact on public health, the economy and the social welfare system.

Counseling Component

A batterer's intervention program shall provide a requirement that the defendant participate in ongoing same-gender group sessions which have as their goal changing the defendant's abusive behaviors and shall have as their focus the defendant's responsibility for change. The counseling sessions shall comply with the requirements of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network Standards for Intervention Programs. The facilitator shall comply with the regulations of the Ohio Counselor and Social worker Board, the Ohio Psychology Board and the Ohio Medical Board. Each program shall require:


1. The defendant's attendance and participation at a minimum of 15 consecutive, 2-hour weekly group counseling sessions. Longer programs are to be favored and encouraged.

2. The defendant attend the sessions without having ingested non-prescription mind-altering chemical substances, including, but not limited to, alcohol or illegal drugs.

3. That neither couples nor family counseling be offered as a component of the intervention program; nor by the sponsoring agency or employees of the agency during the period in which the defendant is enrolled in the batterer's program.

4. Concurrent or supplemental counseling for substance abuse or other mental health issues for defendants for whom these issues need to be addressed.

V. Staff Education and Training Component

A batterer's intervention program shall require it's program staff to meet minimum educational, training, experience and background requirements. The requirements for primary counselors and group facilitators shall include, but not be limited to:

1. At least a masters degree related to social work, psychology or counseling.

2. Certification by the Ohio Counselor and Social Worker Board, the Ohio Psychology Board and/or the Ohio Medical Board to practice at the independent provider level.

3. Evidence of academic or professional work preparation in the following areas:

  • Partner abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • The dynamics of domestic violence

4. Training in the law and the procedures of the civil and criminal justice systems.

5. Training in cultural sensitivities and differences.

The program shall encourage staff to utilize the expertise, training and assistance of the local domestic violence victim advocacy programs. Trainees, interns and co-facilitators are not required to meet these standards listed V. 1-5; however, the Court expects the sponsoring agency to exercise careful judgment in the selection of such individuals and in defining the limitations of their roles in the batterers' programs.

VI. Security Plan Component.

A batterer's intervention program shall have in place a security plan that provides for the safety of staff and participants. The plan shall include the ability to detect weapons. No plan may have counselors and group facilitators act as security for the program.

VII. Alcohol and Drug Detection Component,

A batterer's intervention program shall have in place the ability to detect whether a defendant is attending a session after having ingested alcohol and/or drugs.

VIII. Reporting Component

The program shall have procedures for the submission of timely uniform written reports to the probation department from the program, which shall include all of the following:

1. Proof of enrollment, including any fees which the defendant will be charged, based upon the defendant's ability to pay, for each session.

2. Periodic progress reports that include attendance, fee payment history, and program compliance.

3. Immediate notification to the probation department and judge of any act by the defendant that may be a breach of the program contract, including but not limited to any act of violence or threat to harm anyone in any manner.

4. A final evaluation that includes the program's evaluation of the defendant's progress, using the criteria set forth in the Ohio Domestic Violence Network's Standards for Batterer Intervention. The final evaluation shall also include a recommendation for either the successful or unsuccessful termination or continuation of the defendant's participation in the program.

IX. Sliding Fee Component

A batterer's intervention program seeking referrals from this court shall have a sliding fee schedule based upon the defendant's ability to pay. The scale developed by the program shall recognize both the defendant's ability to pay and the necessity of the program to meet its operational expenses.

An indigent defendant may negotiate a deferred payment schedule, but every defendant referred to a program from this court shall be required to pay something for the privilege of participating, regardless of how nominal the amount. The fee shall be paid during the term of the defendant's participation in the program, unless the defendant and the program agree upon other terms. A program may require the defendant to pay the fee before the defendant can be deemed to have successfully completed the program. .


The Chief Probation Officer or assigned designee shall have the sole authority to certify a batterer's program for use by this court. Certification, once obtained, must be renewed annually. The procedure for obtaining court certification for a batterer's program will be as follows:

1.The completion of a written application containing all necessary and pertinent information requested by the probation department to provide a full description of the applying program.

2. Demonstration by the program that it possesses adequate administrative and operational capability to operate a batterer's program. The applicant shall provide documentation to prove that it has conducted a batterer's program for at least one year prior to application.

3. On-site reviews of the program by the probation department, including monitoring of sessions to determine whether the program adheres to the requirements set forth in these guidelines.

4. Demonstration by the program that its staff meets the necessary educational and training requirements set forth in these guidelines.


The Chief Probation Officer or assigned designee shall have the sole authority to suspend, revoke or modify the certification granted to a program under these guidelines. The probation department shall review all information which it receives relative to a program's performance or failure to adhere to these standards, or both.

Any of the following shall provide grounds for the probation department to exercise the power granted under this section;

1. Any significant violation of the standards established under these guidelines by any person or program holding certification hereunder.

2. Any misrepresentation of a material fact made in obtaining certification to operate a program under these guidelines.


The probation department shall fix a fee not to exceed $250.00 to process an application for certification under these guidelines. A fee not to exceed $250.00 may be set by the probation department in each succeeding year to process approval renewals. These costs shall be set in an amount which will adequately cover the probation department's expenses in administering the approval process provided for in these guidelines. No fee shall be charged for the certification for programs of any local governmental entity. Fees collected by the probation department shall be deposited in the Probation Fee Account.