About John Hamel

Posts by John Hamel:

Podcasts Now Available!

Finally, the first two podcasts in ADVIP’s new series of podcasts on IPV are available on our website.  More podcasts will be added within the next month, and afterwards on an ongoing basis.  Some of the podcasts, such as podcast #1, will be available to the general public, but most, including podcast #2, will only be available to ADVIP members.

If you are an ADVIP member, you will be able to listen to all of the ADVIP-only podcasts simply by entering a password.  This is the same membership default password you received when you originally joined our organization.  If you have forgotten that password, send me an e-mail and I will re-send that password to you.  You need it to post to the blog pages, and to obtain discounts on the peer-reviewed scholarly journals, Partner Abuse and Violence and Victims.

If you are among the first few dozen or so ADVIP members who joined for free, please consider formally joining our organization by paying your membership dues.  We are in need of additional funds to pay for our website maintenance, including the new podcast series.  We will honor the previous $75.00 membership rate (it has since gone up to $125.00).

Meanwhile, please tell your colleagues about ADVIP, and urge them to join!

We hope you enjoy these podcasts.  Your comments would be appreciated.  We will see some of you at the conference later this week!

John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW, ADVIP founder.

Free Podcasts Coming Soon!

I am very excited to announce that, beginning in July, ADVIP will sponsor a series of original podcasts on topics related to intimate partner violence, with a focus on issues related to treatment.  If you have an expertise in a particular area of IPV and would like to take part in an upcoming podcast, contact John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW, at johnmhamel@comcast.net.

ADVIP International Conference July 14!

There is still plenty of time left to register for the 2018 ADVIP International Conference:  “Moving Forward with Evidence-Based Practice,” to be held July 14, 2018 a the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Scheduled for the ADVIP July 14 conference are presentations from some of the world’s leading domestic violence scholars, including Chris Murphy, Erika Lawrence, Julia Babcock, and Arthur Cantos. The focus this year will be on the movement towards evidence-based practice, and how research can better inform domestic violence intervention with perpetrators. Included will be presentations on differential treatment, addressing the needs of specific populations (e.g., women, trauma victims), finding common ground across treatment models, and working within one-size-fits-all standards. The afternoon program will explore a new treatment model, based on principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as the Colorado Model of intervention. Our conference concludes with a panel presentation on existing political and policy obstacles to evidence-based treatment – including resistance to the couples format, a proven, effective modality.

Hope to see you there!

 

2018 ADVIP International Conference – July 14, Portsmouth, N.H. (USA)

Dear ADVIP Members:

As you know, the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs (ADVIP) consists of mental health professionals, batterer intervention providers, and research scholars dedicated to evidence-based practice worldwide. ADVIP is an international organization, with members in 17 countries. Since 2013, members have networked with one another and shared research, news and clinical experiences on our organization’s website, www.domesticviolenceintervention.net. This year’s international conference will prove to be a special one.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to our home page at www.domesticviolenceintervention.net and click on the link on the home page.  ALL ADVIP MEMBERS ARE ALLOWED A SUBSTANTIAL DISCOUNT ON THE REGISTRATION FEE!

(NOTE: Following our conference, at the same location, is the Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference. This is a separate event, requiring separate registration For more information, go to: https://cola.unh.edu/frl/conference)

Scheduled for the ADVIP July 14 conference are presentations from some of the world’s leading domestic violence scholars, including Chris Murphy, Erika Lawrence, Julia Babcock, and Arthur Cantos. The focus this year will be on the movement towards evidence-based practice, and how research can better inform domestic violence intervention with perpetrators. Included will be presentations on differential treatment, addressing the needs of specific populations (e.g., women, trauma victims), finding common ground across treatment models, and working within one-size-fits-all standards. The afternoon program will explore a new treatment model, based on principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as the Colorado Model of intervention. Our conference concludes with a panel presentation on existing political and policy obstacles to evidence-based treatment – including resistance to the couples format, a proven, effective modality.

 

2018 ADVIP World Conference Call for Papers

CALL FOR PAPERS

Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs
2018 World Conference:

“Moving Towards Evidence Based Practice”

Saturday, July 14, 2016, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sheraton Harborside Hotel
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

Submission deadline: March 3, 2018.

(Preceding the July 15-17 Family Research Laboratory International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference at the same location.)

ADVIP, the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs, consists of mental health professionals, batterer intervention providers, and research scholars dedicated to evidence-based practice worldwide, with members in 17 countries. Since 2013, members have networked with one another and shared research, news and clinical experiences on our organization’s website, www.battererintervention.org. This is our second general conference, to be held Saturday, July 14, between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, prior to the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Conference.*

This year, we are looking for papers on the effectiveness of domestic violence perpetrator programs, also known as batterer intervention programs(BIPs), throughout the world. We seek research papers, as well as descriptions of promising programs and case studies. Presentations will vary in length, from 20-45 minutes.

SUBMISSIONS: Send a one-page proposal, no later than March 3, 2018, to John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW, at johnmhamel@comcast.net, with: (1) your name, contact information and credentials as either a domestic violence researcher, treatment provider, or both; (2) your curriculum vitae, if available; and (3) a summary of the paper. Note: Clinical papers MUST include information and relevant references, regarding the evidence base for the program you are describing. Anyone may submit, but priority will be given to submissions by ADVIP members. If you are not already a member, go to www.battererintervention.org and click on the “JOIN ADVIP” link on the home page.
* A separate entity ( https://cola.unh.edu/frl/conference ), not formally affiliated with ADVIP.
Conference Chair: John Hamel, Ph.D, LCSW
johnmhamel@comcast.net
(415) 472-3275 San Francisco Bay Area, CA

National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan

My colleague, Shelly Wagers, has reminded me about the recently-completed report from the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan.  I have read it and I plan on endorsing it.  Here is the link to the web location to see the National plan and endorse it:
https://www.npeiv.org/a-national-plan

Here is the link to NPEIV’s home page to learn more about our organization.  https://www.npeiv.org/

John Hamel, Ph.D., LCSW

Finding Common Ground Across Batterer Intervention Models

In response to research finding batterer intervention programs to be limited overall in their ability to reduce rates of recidivism, stakeholders in the field of domestic violence have been calling for more evidence-based treatment models.  Meanwhile, because of the limitations of state standards, lack of information and other factors, providers are often polarized and confused. The recent literature review by Julia Babcock and colleagues on what works in batterer intervention indicates that while there are some serious conceptual flaws to gendered models of treatment, such as Duluth (including the unsupported focus on the power and control motive and patriarchy as a major risk factor for violence), outcome studies have not found CBT to always be more effective, and that certain approaches (e.g., developing a strong facilitator-client relationship) may in fact account for successful interventions regardless of the program’s stated philosophy.

Based on this common factor research, discussions with facilitators and clients from various programs, and a comparison of my own program with observations of a gender-based model in action, I have put together a training for treatment providers, with suggestions on how to reduce polarization among providers and increase treatment effectiveness.  Let me know if you want to know more.  Meanwhile, I highly recommend the second edition of the book, The Great Psychotherapy Debate, by B. Wampold and Z. Imel (Routledge, 2015).  The book showcases a new psychotherapy meta-model, the Contextual Model, that nicely accounts for findings from recent RAC batterer intervention outcome studies on the importance of the facilitator-client relationship and the value of Motivational Interviewing.

Evidence-Based Domestic Violence Intervention Policy: A Research Guide

Individuals convicted of domestic violence in the United States are typically mandated to attend a course of treatment in lieu of, or in addition to, incarceration.  The type of treatment, also known as batterer intervention, is determined and regulated by each state.  In most states, it takes the form of a weekly psycho-educational same-sex group, from 1.5 to 2 hours per session, and for a duration of 16-52 weeks, with the average around 26 weeks.  While standards usually allow individual counseling in special cases, couples therapy is expressly forbidden in all but a few states. A majority of programs take a gendered perspective of domestic violence.

The most methodologically-sound research suggests that these programs are minimally effective in reducing domestic violence.  A primary reason is that unlike interventions for other social problems (e.g., substance abuse), domestic violence treatment policies have not been sufficiently informed by the body of empirical research.  A consensus has emerged, that for treatment to be effective it needs to be tailored to client needs, based on a sound assessment, in contrast to the standard “one-size-fits-all” models currently in existence. Below are some useful resources for anyone wanting to promote evidence-based policies in the field of domestic violence:

  1. Visit the website of the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs (ADVIP) at www.battererintervention.org. Click on the link at the bottom left section of the home page (“click here for full articles and summaries”), or go directly to: https://www.domesticviolenceintervention.net/advip-2016-world-conference-findings/
  • Look for: Domestic violence perpetrator programs: A proposal for evidence-based standards in the United States.  Researched by 17 renowned domestic violence scholars, this is the most comprehensive review of the domestic violence intervention literature.  If time is an issue, read the summaries.
  • Also look for: A survey of domestic violence perpetrator programs in the U.S. and Canada: Findings and implications for policy intervention. This article, by John Hamel and Fred Buttell of Tulane University, reports on a recent survey of batterer intervention programs in the United States and Canada, and provides valuable insights by experienced clinicians.
  1. Read the excellent article by Canadian researchers Lynn Stewart and Claire Slavin-Stewart, Applying effective corrections principles (RNR) to partner abuse interventions. The RNR model is the gold standard for evidence-based interventions with incarcerated populations and general criminal recidivism.  The article was originally published in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Partner Abuse, Volume 4, Number 4, in 2013, but is now available on the ADVIP website.  Click on the “Research” link, and then “Articles,” or go directly to:
    https://www.domesticviolenceintervention.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Stewart2013.pdf
  1. A thorough and up-to-date review of the literature on risk assessment instruments can be found in the article, Assessment in intimate partner violence: A review of contemporary approaches, by Tonia Nicholls and her colleagues. This is also available in the research section of the ADVIP website, and can be accessed directly at:
    https://www.domesticviolenceintervention.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Nicholls.etal2013.Manuscript.pdf

Also useful is:  Inventory of spousal violence risk assessment tools used in Canada,  available at:
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/fv-vf/rr09_7/rr09_7.pdf

  1. Two states have already demonstrated the effectiveness of domestic violence intervention policies based on risk assessment – Colorado and Florida.
  • For information about research on the Colorado model, read: Gover, A. (2011).  New directions for domestic violence offender treatment standards:  Colorado’s innovative approach to differentiated treatment.  Partner Abuse, 2 (1), 95-120.
  • To read about research on the Florida model, read: Coulter, M., & VandeWeerd, C. (2009). Reducing domestic violence and other criminal recidivism:  Effectiveness of a multilevel batterers intervention program.  Violence and Victims, 24 (2), 139-152.

(You can get an electronic copy of either or both articles by contacting John Hamel, LCSW, at
johnmhamel@comcast.net)

  1. One of the most reliable and widely-used risk assessment instrument, the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA), is available from the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. For information and to watch the free training video, go to: http://odara.waypointcentre.ca/
  1. Another reliable and widely-used instrument, the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER), is available at: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/famil/rr05_fv1-rr05_vf1/rr05_fv1.pdf  The B-SAFER is a component of the Colorado risk assessment model.
  1. For an excellent discussion on how couples therapy can be a safe and effective treatment option, read: The trials and tribulations of testing couples-based interventions for intimate partner violence, by the notable researcher-practitioner Julia Babcock of the University of Houston. It is available at:
    domesticviolenceintervention.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Babcock2017.pdf
  2. Two examples of existing evidence-based programs for a psychoeducational group format are the Stop Domestic Violence Program by David Wexler, at: RTIprojects.org; and the Alternative Behavior Choices program by John Hamel, at: https://www.domesticviolencetrainings.org/evidence-based-batterer-intervention-program-client-manual/

 

RNR Model and Partner Abuse Assessment Protocols

I and several other batterer intervention providers in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area (U.S.A.) have been working with our local Probation departments to discuss ways to improve our perpetrator programs.  A major issue has been a tendency by “rogue” judges to ignore current laws, and sentencing some defendants to an 8-hour or 16-hour anger management program instead of the 52-week psycho-educational group mandated for everyone convicted of a domestic violence offense.  Judges do this for many reasons, but one of them is that prosecutors often bring weak cases to court, involving first time offenders who have committed a low-level misdemeanor offense, and/or those where the victim refuses to cooperate.  We are concerned that some of these defendants may pose a greater risk to victims than what the judges have determined, but at the same time we recognize that other defendants pose a very minor risk and do not require the full 52 mandated number of sessions. We believe that current one-size-fits-all policies are a major part of the problem; but while judges may demand some discretion in their sentencing decisions, we argue that it makes more sense, in terms of victim safety and offender accountability, for sentencing decisions to be made on a more systematic and rational basis.

Recently, we have been advancing the Risk-Need-Responsivity (RNR) model of offender rehabilitation as a possible solution to this ongoing problem.  A very well-written article on the RNR model and its applicability to domestic violence cases can be found in the Research section of our website (or go directly to: https://www.domesticviolenceintervention.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Stewart2013.pdf).

The responsivity piece of the model calls for a treatment approach that acknowledges the large degree of heterogeneity among perpetrators, and the importance of establishing treatment goals based on a sound assessment and the unique characteristics of each client.  I have been using such an assessment protocol for my perpetrator programs for several years, and it is available for free to anyone who is interested.  E-mail me at johnmhamel@comcast.net, or call me at (415) 472-3275.

Canada, and the state of Colorado in the United States, use the RNR model for perpetrator treatment.  How is intervention determined in your area, and are you satisfied with the status quo?