The first programs for men who batter were founded in the 1970s in partnership with battered women’s advocates. Between fifteen and twenty-five hundred batterer intervention programs (BIPs) are currently in operation across the country. Goals, methods, and outcomes vary tremendously from program to program despite certification standards in most states. Research findings on the effectiveness of BIPs range from little or no effect to substantial reductions in violent behavior by program completers. Many BIP practitioners believe that current research does not adequately reflect the results they see in the field and does not capture the varied services BIPs provide. Yet with the prominence of evidence-based practice, some judges and policy makers are citing certain research results as a justification for discontinuing referrals to BIPs, which is forcing them to close.
In December 2009, national experts in batterer intervention and domestic violence gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to improve intervention systems and design research that better informs practice. This meeting was the result of a unique partnership of nonprofit organization, the Family Violence Prevention Fund; federal agency, the National Institute of Justice; and private foundation, “The Woods” Charitable Foundation. This report describes the experts roundtable, summarizes the key themes that emerged from the discussions, and recommends next steps for the field of batterer intervention.
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