With the advent of COVID-19, many regular practices in IPV interventions were disrupted. What seems evident today is that the public health measures deployed to combat the spread of the virus had a serious negative impact on IPV survivors. Below are links to some studies my colleagues and I have published on the intersection of IPV and the pandemic, which I hope prove useful to other researchers and clinical providers.
Buttell, F., Cannon, C. E. B., Rose, K., & Ferreira, R. J. (2021). COVID-19 and intimate partner
Last year, The Violence Against Women Act (enacted in 1994) was up for reauthorization in Congress. In response, over 100 organizations comprised of state DV coalitions and criminal justice institutions argued for solutions to a “Broken Domestic Violence System” (Buchbinder, 2020). On Sept 21, 2021, the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence created a national action plan on gender-based violence that called for additional training, funding for representation, and alternatives to the criminal justice system and addressing racial bias in DV. Such organizations call for significant changes to domestic violence programs and policies, expressing concern about the over-emphasis on “increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the primary solution” to domestic violence. For example, many jurisdictions have policies that mandate or encourage arrest for DV cases. Mandatory arrest triggers the workings of the rest of the criminal justice system leading to prosecution, imprisonment, probation, and parole. Studies on mandatory arrest have found arrests cause retaliation and often increase domestic violence (Iyengar, 2009; Thebaud & Kim, 2020). Approximately 50% of domestic violence incidents involve mutual physical abuse, yet women represent only 16% of defendants in domestic aggravated assault cases. The National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence survey (2022) recently reported lifetime rates for IPV in women were 47.3% and 44.2% for men. Yet, primary aggressor laws in 21 states typically result in arresting the male, based on the International Association of Chiefs of Police instructions to consider the size and strength of the assailant. Such policies do not deter offenders (Buzawa & Buzawa, 2003; Rempel et al., 2008). In states with “no-drop” policies, many victims do not want the offender to be arrested. Instead, they just want the abuse to stop (Iyenger, 2007), and research has found that failing to respect victim preferences resulted in decreased calls for subsequent abuse (Hotaling & Buzawa, 2003). We can use alternatives to arrest to divert individuals into mental health treatment, and counseling instead of arrest and options to the current punitive criminal justice approaches to DV.
Prosecution of domestic violence has and continues to demonstrate various forms of partiality. Studies have found that women receive more leniency in prosecution (Henning & Reneauer, 2005; Lantz, 2020), fewer punitive charges, and more plea deals for female defendants (MacNeil et al., 2020). Even the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys has published a Domestic Violence Committee Position Statement emphasizing the need for criminal justice reform, highlighting treatment alternatives, diversion programs, and restorative justice. A panel of 4 experts in domestic violence and three staffers of the Coalition to End Domestic Violence came up with legislative recommendations that inform legislative change (http://endtodv.org/solutions/). According to Coalition to End Domestic Violence, there are alternative programs located in 18 states that have adopted reforms designed to relieve court dockets, lower incarceration, and criminal justice costs, reduce recidivism and provide greater victim and family support.
Drs. Brenda Russell, John Hamel, and Jennifer Cox created a study to examine attorneys’ and police officers’ endorsement of the proposed reforms. The survey examines the extent to which attorneys and police officers perceive such reforms would be more beneficial than existing policies. These two populations are essential to evaluate as they work closely with domestic violence defendants and victims. The surveys comprise 43 questions about proposed reforms and assess the willingness to endorse reforms and consider their concerns about the current process based on their experience in the field. Our research team has also interviewed individuals who implement various domestic violence reforms in their states.
The study is computer-based and made available on any computer with internet access. If you are involved in implementing any new programs in your state or know law enforcement (corrections, probation, parole, law enforcement) or attorneys interested in participating, please get in touch with Brenda Russell at Blr15@psu.edu for further information and a link to the study.
In early 2017, Assembly Bill 372 was introduced in California to explore the use of alternative batterer intervention programming (BIPs). Under current law, the court is required to order a 52-week BIP for persons who meet the sentencing mandates for specified domestic violence crimes (FC 6211/ PC 1203.097). The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) oversees the pilot project of six participating counties. The counties are provided the flexibility to modify the 52-week requirement to a lesser time, based on a risk and needs assessment. All counties chose the Ontario Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment (ODARA), but general risk assessments varied among the counties with four different tools used to measure general recidivism.
The pilot project was introduced into law (PC 1203.099) in July 2019 with a sunset date of July 1, 2022 (although the deadline was extended for another year due to pandemic restrictions). Under the new code, the BIP’s were to have components which are evidence-based or promising practices and had to use manualized curriculum. Four curriculums were chosen to meet this requirement. The counties were required to collect offender demographic information, criminal history, risk and needs assessment levels and whether the offender completed the program as well as recidivism six months after completion. All information was to be submitted annually to the Legislature (CSAC) for further analysis.
The second-year report reflected enhanced data collection and some recidivism reports. At this point many of the counties had returned to full programming after pandemic restrictions, so future reports should be more uniform in data collection.
While this pilot project has been underway, the California Auditor’s Office (CAO) conducted a review of five other counties, not connected to the AB372 Pilot Project. In California, the county probation departments are tasked with the certification and compliance review of the BIP’s in their counties. The auditor’s report was released in October 2022 and found that the probation departments they evaluated were found to “not adequately hold offenders accountable to the conditions of their probation, including that they complete the required batterer intervention program”. Various recommendations were submitted by the CAO, including the transfer of the certification/review process to the Department of Justice instead of the county probation departments. https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/factsheets/2021-113.pdf
Fortunately, during the past six years, the California Probation Chief’s Association (CPOC) training division and Advisory Committee has been developing and providing domestic violence specific trainings to address the various issues facing county probation officers who supervise domestic violence offenders. In 2020, during the pandemic, they offered a newly designed 2-day DV Core training for officers assigned to DV caseloads. The course was offered virtually twice yearly (2020, 2021, 2022 Spring) and in the Fall of 2022, it was finally offered in-person. The officers have given the course high marks for providing the training they need to competently supervise DV offenders, work effectively with victims, and understand the role of BIP’s in a coordinated community response model.
Concurrently, the newly designed “BIP Best Practices” course was offered twice in the Fall of 2022 to resoundingly positive reviews by officers! The timeliness and necessity of this training was confirmed by the October Auditor’s report and CPOC hopes to expand it’s offerings of this training in the coming year.
While still a work in progress, overall, California is working to reduce the levels of intimate partner violence thru more research-based supervision efforts and requiring BIP’s to use evidence-based materials and promising practices. With targeted data collection, and increased trainings, it is anticipated that California will see more positive impact from effective batterer intervention programs over the next few years.
UN Women’s Denial of Female-Perpetrated Abuse is a Threat to Women
WASHINGTON / December 19, 2022 – During its recent 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, UN Women produced a fact sheet on “Types of Violence Against Women and Girls” (1). The UN Women document systematically ignores the widespread problem of female-perpetrated abuse.
Female-perpetrated abuse represents a significant threat to women in two ways:
Mutual Abuse in Heterosexual Relationships: A report from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe documents the dangers of mutual abuse in heterosexual relationships (2). Noting that approximately half of all heterosexual domestic abuse is reciprocal, the report explains,
“Research has found that women’s use of domestic violence increased the frequency and severity of men’s abuse, and mutual aggression increased the likelihood of injury for both men and women.” (emphasis added)
The report concludes, “Therefore, it is imperative that governments take note of what surveys with representative community samples tell us about male and female victimisation and perpetration rates.”
Abuse in Lesbian Relationships: In 2009, Amber Heard was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence against her then-girlfriend, Tasya Van Ree (3). More recently, New York police officer Yvonne Wu shot and killed her former female lover, Jamie Liang (4).
These incidents confirm the fact that persons in same-sex relationships are at particularly high risk of abuse (5). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that same-sex female couples have substantially higher lifetime victimization rates than same-sex male couples for domestic violence, rape, and/or stalking (6): • Lesbian: 44% • Gay: 26% In Australia, a national survey of over 5,400 LGBTIQ persons similarly found that 41% of female respondents, compared to 28% of male respondents, reported having been in a relationship in which the partner was abusive (7).
By denying the reality of female-perpetrated abuse, either in the context of heterosexual reciprocal abuse or same-sex female relationships, UN Women is placing women at far greater risk of experiencing injury and possible death. The Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance calls on UN Women to base its programs on science, not gender ideology.
The Domestic Abuse and Violence International Alliance – DAVIA — consists of 70 member organizations from 24 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. DAVIA seeks to ensure that domestic violence and abuse polices are science-based, family-affirming, and gender-inclusive. http://endtodv.org/davia/
Join us virtually on June 16-17, 2022 for the NCPAT Conference. This year’s conference will feature a highly interactive learning experience from the House of Ruth Maryland Training Institute. Topics will include research on effectiveness of intervention programs, program design, being part of a community coordinated response, and supporting resilience and self-care.
Describe how approaches to working with abusive partners have evolved over time and the current variance in programming.
Identify tools for developing a program philosophy and engaging your participants, survivors, victim advocates and the broader community in program design.
Have increased confidence and skills to engage partners who are abusive in a change process.
From close to the river Rhine and the Dutch border in Germany but with reference to the above and also to the programme we run in London and Birmingham (UK).
Thank you very much indeed Casey for exposing us yesterday evening (for us) and yesterday morning (for you) to such a well researched, far-reaching and apparently highly successful programme. It was a breath of fresh air amongst some very stagnant vapours, virus infested, non jabbed and non-recovered!
Our own programme has much in common with yours, short, 36 hours, closed group, compact, 4 whole days, usually about 6 participants, max 8, and open to both genders – but not couples – in the same group. Sadly we do not have anything like the evidence of effectiveness which you have but the guys and gals who have taken part over the last 25 years would almost certainly mirror the self-reports you highlighted. I would also emphasise the trauma informed basis which you did, and just make the point that the extreme, and therefore understandable military associated traumas which have been on the top of your agenda are, as you indicated, matched by many more from life in inner cities and as ethnic minorities: but also there are the roots of similar traumas which can be summed up within the context of “Attachment theory”.
It was particularly interesting to hear of the spread of Casey’s programme throughout the U states and further afield and, looking at the membership, John, it is apparent that the “global reach” of ADVIP, and the different positions of different countries with regard to our Duluth Style colleagues, is a very important aspect of bringing an “evidence base” to bear on the stranglehold that our DSC’s hold, particularly strongly in USA, but also in UK and other countries. So I would strongly advocate for repeats of the Zoom conference which means that people like me who would never afford either the time of the money to get to your conferences in the USA can also take part easily and cheaply. I would also add that much of the networking can be achieved in breakout rooms in Zoom.
I think I would also try to go the extra mile with the Charity status – which you call a non-profit – so that your enormous efforts and the membership can also be secured beyond your personal demise, or the sudden decay of your grey cells! It is another thing that the virus has focussed our minds on, mine too.
Some interesting developments from the UK for your readership:
An APPG (All party parliamentary group) has successfully been set up focussed on men’s disadvantages. See Gender parity UK https://genderparity.uk/
The “male pysychology” has been accepted (voted in) by the Psychological Society
Please see the link below for the 2021 Colorado Domestic Violence Offender Management and Sex Offender Management Boards Annual Conference. The conference will be held July 14-16th and will be 100% online, so join us from your part of the world!
Yesterday I spoke at the ADVIP International Conference, that was co-sponsored by the IVAT San Diego Conference. John Hamel put together an awesome group of presenters that covered topics Including evidence-based treatment, attachment theory, Dynamics of community based programs for victims and perpetrators, and LBGTQ+ clients, just to name a few. The speakers were all dynamic, exciting and presented very interesting research. Plus, it was all done on Zoom with minimal technical glitches. Thank you John for all your hard work on this conference.
I have been reading about the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, and it turns out that he had multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest when police were called – for having chocked and severely injured a woman, probably his girlfriend, and for assaults with a deadly weapon. Video footage from one side of the car shows him resisting arrest, and then walking around the car and try to enter on the other side. It has now reported that there was a knife in the car, which Mr. Blake would have been able to retrieve, and possibly use against the police or others, had he been allowed to get into the car. Does this information change any of your minds about the current media narrative, that this was one more example of systemic racism or police misconduct? This does not seem to me to be as cut-and-dry as the George Floyd incident. But I think this incident does highlight an ongoing dilemma in the field of domestic violence: How does law enforcement keep victims safe while honoring the constitutional rights of criminal suspect? Your thoughts?
My colleagues and I have been asked to submit a paper to our local judges to address the issue of No Contact Orders in IPV cases. Currently in Oregon, an IPV arrest results in an automatic No Contact Order until the case is dropped or (more commonly) until the individual has been involved in a BIP for a minimum of 12 weeks. Then, at the discretion of the BIP provider and the PO, a No Contact is changed to a No Offensive Contact Order and contact is allowed. Based on Oregon Administrative Rules, most BIPs adhere to the “patriarchal beliefs” model. My colleagues and I have decided to address three issues: 1. the impact of No Contact Orders on parent-child attachment, 2. differences in implications of No Contact Orders on collectivistic vs individualistic cultures, and 3. assessments which would help move away from a one-size-fits-all. If you were doing this presentation, what assessments would you recommend to the judges and why? If possible, please provide or reference research to support your position. Please know that your suggestion may be used and, if you desire, you will be given credit.