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.
Policy and Politics / News
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.
Thank you in advance.
Patricia Warford, PsyD,
Here in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, most batterer intervention programs have been suspended, at least for the next 3 weeks, due to the Corona virus epidemic. We providers are all scrambling to figure ways to serve our clients, keep victims safe, and stay healthy during this difficult time. Some of us have started, or are about to start, videoconferencing. Others are continuing to hold groups in person, when there are less than 10 per group, and taking preventative steps such as having clients wash their hands before coming to group, etc.
How are the rest of you coping with this crisis?
The Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs is pleased to announce the creation of a new local chapter. The new chapter is located in Vero Beach, Florida. The contact person is Rebecca Inman, and she can be contacted at: email@example.com
If you would like to start a chapter of your own, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am wondering what risk needs assessment tools are being used by the group. Which ones do you like and which ones do you not like? Bonus points if you can provide the links for where to get access to the assessments of your choice. Thank you in advance.
Dear ADVIP Members:
I just received this invitation from a researcher at the University of Alabama.
My name is Jenna and I work with Taylor Scott at the Research to Policy collaboration. https://www.research2policy.org/participating-researchers
We are currently working to expand our network of researchers to help us respond to congressional interests in domestic violence. We work to connect researchers to congressional staff based on shared interests and knowledge areas. As a part of this, we pair and prepare — including trainings and hands-on coaching and guidance on how to work with policymakers.
I am writing to you to see if you would be willing to send an email on our behalf to your domestic violence research group?
Please let me know if this is something you would be willing to do or if you have any questions!
Jenna Reardanz, M.A.
The University of Alabama
Department of Psychology
IDD Research | Peer Relations Research
We need shelters for male survivors of abuse
Ask any feminist—no, wait, ask any woman—no, wait, ask just about anyone you know, male or female, young or old, dumb as a brick or a Brainiac—whether men or women are the victims of intimate partner violence (IPV: what used to be called “domestic violence”), and I promise you, almost everyone you ask will respond without pause, “women.” It’s just one of those things people “know.”
After all, how could it be otherwise? Men are bigger and stronger than women, men are way more aggressive to other men than women are to women, and men are responsible for most other criminal acts. Besides, you never see public service announcements raising awareness about male victimization. And there are hundreds of women shelters, but almost none for men. Case closed, eh? It makes sense to conclude that men perpetrate IPV, and women suffer from it.
That conclusion is wrong, and demonstrably wrong. Both men and women are victims of IPV, and both men and women are perpetrators of IPV. A new study, “Prevalence and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence in Canada as Measured by the National Victimization Survey,” published April 15 in the journal, Partner Abuse, confirms a great deal of previously documented bilateral epidemiology of IPV according to gender. The lead author is Alexandra Lysova of Simon Fraser University, with contributing authors graduate student Emeka Dim of the University of Saskatoon and the University of British Columbia’s Donald Dutton, amongst the international scholarly doyens on the subject of intimate partner violence, and Canada’s foremost expert in this domain. I will refer to it as the Lysova study.
The study “examined the prevalence of victimization [that] resulted from physical and/or sexual IPV, controlling behaviors and also consequences of IPV for both men and women in a sample representative of the Canadian population.” The data came from a random sample of 33,000 Canadians surveyed in the 2014 General Social Survey of Victimization, so ideologues should not even think about trashing the source, which, sociologically speaking, doesn’t get more echt than this. The study was particularly interested in examining IPV with regard to male victims, an under-researched element in this field, to say the least.
The results showed that in the last five years, 2.9% of men and 1.7% of women reported experiencing physical and/or sexual IPV in their current relationships. Yes, you read that right: more men than women reported being abused. Almost equal numbers—35% of men and 34% of women—reported experiencing what is known as “intimate terrorism”—extreme controlling behaviour in a relationship. Furthermore, 22% of male victims and 19% of female victims of IPV reported experiencing severe physical violence accompanying the controlling behaviour.
Women were far more likely to report these behaviours and experience short-term effects of IPV, such as anger or depression than male victims, whose under-reportage is linked to a tendency to feel shame at exhibiting weakness and being considered a victim of a woman’s violence. But the long-term effects—PTSD-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation—were experienced bilaterally. The paper argues for more reporting of IPV victimization among men as compared to women.
But those are not the kind of studies that are bruited in the media. What the media sees are studies by feminist researchers, whose study participants are women, because they choose violence against women as their subject. They choose violence against women as their subject because they subscribe to a binary belief system in which males are the perpetrators of violence and women are the victims. As one researcher cited in this study, observes, “[M]uch victimological work implicitly leaves us with the impression that victims are not likely to be male. It renders female victimization visible and male victimization invisible.”
In 2000, Stats Canada stopped “filtering” the message by presenting their survey as a study of violence against women. After assuming a stance of neutrality, they found 7% victimization for males and 8% victimization for women. That extra percentage point reflects the fact that men are responsible for violence at the extreme end. That kind of violence is what makes the news, and gives the false impression that men are responsible for all partner violence.
But in actual numbers—that is, epidemiologically speaking—extreme IPV is not significant when placed alongside the figures for other acts of criminal male violence, in which men are far more likely to be the victims than women. This is not to diminish the gravity of male violence against women partners, and intervention programs should prioritize women’s safety. It is only to say that any public policy around IPV should regard extreme violence against women by men as a fairly narrow subset of IPV in general, which affects both men and women virtually equally.
Stats Can doesn’t give an IPV detailed breakdown of specific physical and sexual behaviours, while this Lysova study does, including other forms of abusive controlling behaviours, such as possessiveness and intimidation. One of the more interesting aspects of this study is that StatsCan restructured their methodology to include “sexual assault” (very loosely defined) together with physical assault, doubtless expecting an outcome of higher numbers of female victims. That was not the case.
When women flee an abusive relationship, they can take their children with them to a shelter. When men flee an abusive relationship, they have nowhere to take their children who may also be at risk. This is one of the main reasons why abused men stay in the home: to protect their children. As I noted, there are many shelters for abused women—627 in Canada—and almost none for men. Shelter numbers do not reflect need, they reflect public perception of where the need lies, a perception formed not through objective observation or attention to epidemiology, but through deference paid to ideologues and a lazy media all too willing to promote feminist narratives and to ignore male suffering.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), on whose board I sit, is front and centre on this file. CAFE supports equality of attention and response to both men and women in principle, but focuses on providing services for men in crisis, and raising awareness of the huge disparity in resources for men’s evident, but ignored needs. You may have noticed, for example, that the overwhelming number of homeless people on the streets are male. A number of those men are victims of abuse. According to Justin Trottier, executive director of CAFE, his organization receives calls from over 400 men each year desperately seeking a safe haven and counselling. CAFE has been successful in receiving federal funds for a research project, “Male Homelessness as a Consequence of Domestic Abuse.” Stay tuned for a report.
Changing public perception to reflect the reality of IPV has been a Sisyphean task for many years. IPV policies needn’t be a zero-sum game, where women lose if men make gains. We have to alter our way of thinking about IPV, to understand that victims of violence can also be perpetrators of violence. The most common form of IPV is mutual violence toward each other in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. This is an established fact. I get that it’s hard to believe. But “hard to believe” doesn’t mean it’s untrue.
It is the duty of governments to look beyond ideology and narrative in all matters regarding social health. Resource allocation must be based on firm epidemiological grounds. On IPV, the evidence is in.
On May 23, 2019 I will be doing a one-day workshop for the Family Violence Coordinating Council (FVCC) in Fort McMurray, Alberta entitled Getting Connected: The Therapeutic Engagement and Treatment of Couples with Interpersonal Violence. I will be demonstrating how my Needs ABC Model is used in working with difficult couples.
Caplan, T. (2010). The Needs ABC Therapeutic Model for Couples and Families: A Guide for Practitioners. New York: Routledge.
With regard to the conference in Santa Fe, May 1-3, 2018, we are offering opportunities for individuals who might wish to present a 50 minute workshop or symposium in addition to the presentations of plenary presenters. An incentive to present is that the $275 price of the conference is halved for workshop/symposium presenters.