Breaking the cycle : fathering after violence. Curriculum guidelines and tools for batterer intervention programs.

Year Published
Author (Individual)
Fleck-Henderson, Ann.
Areán, Juan Carlos.
Mitchell-Clark, Kelly.
Runner, Michael W.
Author (Organization)
Family Violence Prevention Fund.
Resource Type
Training Materials
Resource Format
Resource Language

This workbook presents curriculum guidelines for Batterer Intervention Programs (BIPs) working with fathers who have been violent. The materials address men in their roles as fathers or father figures to children, and are designed to increase men's awareness of the effects on children of domestic violence, motivation to stop abusive behavior, capacity for healing and having constructive relationships with their children, and support of their partner's parenting. The curriculum guidelines center around three included parenting exercises that are meant to be implemented over a four-to-six week period and that were pilot tested in partnership with the Dorchester Community Roundtable with three Boston-based BIPs: Common Purpose; Emerge; and Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Services. The three parenting exercises focus on creating empathy for children's experience of domestic violence; identifying behaviors that constitute positive modeling by fathers for their children, while supporting the mother's parenting; and understanding men's roles in the process of repairing a damaged relationship with their children. The workbook begins by discussing the need to engage fathers in prevention programs and the purpose of the curriculum guidelines. The cultural context of BIPs and the parenting context in which BIPs work are explored, as well as the rationale for parenting work with men who have abused their partners. The benefits and challenges of working with men through BIPs are discussed, and key components of organizational readiness are described. Staff training is addressed, and four training activities are described that address: the overview of the project and potential benefits and challenges, understanding the cultural context of fathering, presenting the reparative framework, and presenting the exercises to BIPs. Findings from evaluation of the program are shared and indicate the curriculum materials are effective in engaging men in BIPs and promoting, for some of the men, increased empathy with their children, increased clarity about the damaging effects of violence, and new or clearer ideas about how to support their children's mother and think about repairing relationships with their children. Audio stories are included with the workbook on-line. 6 references.

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