The Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs (ADVIP) 2016 International Conference was held July 10 at the Portsmouth Sheraton Hotel, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in conjunction with the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Conference and the Family Research Laboratory. ADVIP is the only international organization of mental health professionals, batterer intervention providers, and research scholars dedicated to evidence-based practice worldwide (www.domesticviolenceintervention.net)
This was a historic event, featuring presentations on domestic violence perpetrator treatment programs in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the U.K., and Africa, and representing a number of perspectives and solutions.
- Domestic violence is a worldwide problem, and consists of physical, emotional and sexual forms of interpersonal abuse.
- The causes, characteristics and consequences of domestic violence in some ways differ across countries and regions, but in other ways quite similar.
- Outside of the United States, and particularly in underdeveloped countries, where laws against domestic violence either do not exist or remain unenforced, domestic violence intervention programs are scant, and underfunded.
- There is a consensus that the causes of domestic violence can best be understood according to an Ecological Model, which acknowledges the importance of societal, neighborhood, family, and individual factors.
- Interventions should be delivered within a cultural context. There should be a comparatively greater emphasis on social factors, such as the general oppression of women, in more patriarchal countries, but psychological, developmental and relationship factors have been found to be relevant everywhere.
- These findings will be of enormous help in establishing more promising evidence-based policies for perpetrator programs throughout the world.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NATIONAL STANDARDS IN THE UNITED STATES:
- Holding offenders accountable requires a multi-system response, including effective policing, prosecution, incarceration, judicial monitoring, and/or treatment.
- Perpetrator treatment is one part of a coordinated community response that includes law enforcement, victim advocates, mental health professionals and other social service agencies.
- Regardless of a perpetrator’s legal status, treatment should be based on the needs of that individual and the extent to which he or she presents a threat to current and future victims.
- Treatment should be delivered by providers with substantial and accurate knowledge of partner abuse, including prevalence rates, abuser characteristics, causes and contributing factors, dynamics, and the negative impact on victims and families.
- Perpetrator treatment plans should be determined through a thorough psychosocial assessment that includes, but is not limited to, known PA risk factors.
- Treatment should be based on current best practices informed by empirical research on treatment outcome, treatment engagement, and risk factors for PA recidivism.
- Although group is the most popular from of treatment, there is no empirical support for the wholesale prohibition of any particular modality.
The full set of standards recommendations are now available at www.domesticviolenceintervention.net
Complete conference findings will be published in three special issues of the peer-reviewed journal, Partner Abuse: volume 7 (2016), issues number 3-4; and volume 8 (2017), issue number 1, and will include papers not presented at the conference – for example, on perpetrator programs in South Asia (www.springerpub.com/pa).
Anyone interested in the latest research on domestic violence is encouraged to visit www.domesticviolenceresearch.org.
“Domestic Violence Worldwide” and other professional training videos are available at www.domesticviolencetrainings.org.