Batterer’s Intervention:
An Effective Approach?

by Kasey Gillis

   Domestic Violence effects approximately 2.1 million women each year in the United States alone. Domestic abuse has been hidden in society’s closet for hundreds of years, and has not really been made a public issue until not too long ago. With the increase of reported assaults by professional athletes to their spouses and partners came the rising interest in the domestic violence treatments.  This arose an alert in women as well as social workers and police officers, causing them to keep a look out and try to find a way to prevent this abuse from continuing.  Many attempts have been made to eliminate this problem, however not all of them are effective.  Batterer’s Intervention is one such treatment program in question.  For one to better understand and be able to form a true opinion it is important to view all sides of the subject.  The
articles that will be discussed in this paper will elaborate on the three different views of the effectiveness of batterer’s intervention.  These articles discuss the for, neutral, and against perspectives.

Fig. 1:  The O.J. Simpson case served as exigence for this
national issue.

   Larry W. Bennett is strongly for batterer’s intervention programs and he confirms that in his article “In defense of batterer-program standards.”
This article was found in the Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, which indicates that his intended audience are sophisticated
adults with concerns of human services.  This creates ethos for the author considering the intended audience would not be interested in reading from unreliable sources.  The author’s sources also build onto the ethos already established, he gets his information from very credible sources like the Journal of Family Psychology and the National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC.
In this article Bennett is responding to an article he read written by K. Moore, W. Greenfield, M. Wilson, and A. Kok.  The article he is responding to is insulting batterer programs and their standards, Bennett very passionately defends the standards of these programs.  Referring to the article Bennett says, “Knowingly or unknowingly, the article represents the narrow self-interest of therapists who are outside mainstream batterer-intervention programs.  Standards for batterer programs have been developed
for two reasons: to increase the accountability of batterers and to ensure the safety of victims.”(Bennett).  He admits that these programs are usually “imperfect first drafts” but he then states, “Nevertheless, their primary purpose of enhancing accountability and safety is laudable.”(Bennett).
There, however, are no real signs of pathos in this article to connect the reader to the topic.  Just one man’s very credible opinion. 

Fig. 2:  Experts continue to argue over the effectiveness of batterer abuse programs.  In the meantime, Nonlethal IPV (intimate
partner violence) has been conservatively estimated to
result in financial losses of approximately $150
million per year.

   Another source comes from the article “Batterer programs: what we know and need to know” by Edward W. Gondolf.  Gondolf stands neutral believing that batterer’s intervention programs can work for some men, but not all.  The ethos is formed early when taking in consideration that this article comes from
the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, which is viewed in majority by scholars and individuals researching in this field.  This lets the reader infer that the
author intends for his audience to be educated adults who have already formed an interest in interpersonal violence.  Gondolf begins by introducing the problem of domestic violence and the attempted cure, batterer’s intervention.  He then goes on to insure the reader that after reading this article they will have the answer to the five major questions considered: 1. Do batterer counseling programs work? 2. What program approach is the most effective and appropriate? 3. How do we reduce program dropout and
noncompliance? 4. How do we increase the safety and protection of battered women? And 5. How do we extend batterer programs to rural and minority
   The question of concern here is, Do batterer counseling programs work?  Gondolf begins this section by repeating the question and insuring the audience that there is no clear cut answer.  He states, “The question framed in this way tends toward categorical outcomes and success rates convenient for policy makers and the public consumer.  However, the question might more      accurately be put in probabilistic terms: What kinds of men are most likely to change their behavior and under what circumstances?  To answer this
question demands expansion of evaluation conceptualization, design, context, and outcome.”(Gondolf). 
Gondolf believes that these programs have been unfairly tested, he insinuates that everyone responds differently to certain approaches.  This articles determines that batterer’s intervention can be very effective for some offenders, while a different approach is necessary for others(Gondolf).  While
this article has a sufficient amount of ethos created by the author himself, he also uses credible sources to help gain the reader’s confidence. A few such
sources come from the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, the Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, and the Hospital and Community Psychiatry.  Gondolf also appeals to logos as he discusses ways to improve the testing process of these batterer programs, however the reader discovers no pathos through all the facts and logics.  

Fig. 3:  Although many feel that domestic violence is an
inexcusable offense, there are no clear-cut answers about effective treatments for abusers.

   Some people share a different view of batterer’s intervention programs.  Ileana Arias, along with Juergen Dankwort; Ulester Douglas; Marry Ann Dutton; and Kathy Stein, are against these type of programs. They see these programs as having limited standards, they state, “But research evidence suggests that there may not be significant differences in the outcomes
among available treatment programs.”(Arias).  The authors show ethos being that their article, “Violence against women: the state of batterer prevention
programs”, comes from the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics.  The common audience for this such reading are intellectual adults with some sort of background or interest in law.  The authors support their opinion by giving examples of the limitations discovered in these batterer programs.  These limitations include the fact that standards sometimes lack specificity or fail to
explicate their rationale, standards may be infrequently monitored and/or unfunded.  They even stated, “Compliance with standards is complex and may
be problematic on various levels–for example, standards may obtain a superficial acquiescence without real commitment by practitioners to implement their underlying purpose, or there may be no action if the standards are not mandated.”(Arias).  These are just a few limitations they mentioned in their article, but it allows the reader to understand how these programs may actually be lacking instead of helping.                                             
   Throughout this article the authors appeal to logos through the facts they present to the reader.  They show percentages of money loss that is caused by intimate partner violence.  Nonlethal IPV (intimate partner violence) has been conservatively estimated to result in financial losses of approximately $150 million per year.  Of that 40% account for medical expenses, 44% for property loss, and lost pay for the remainder.(Arias).  They also show two national surveys done concerning the standards for batterer intervention and prevention programs conducted by Juergen Dankwort and Juliet Austin.  These surveys were produced and administered under a contract with the U.S.-based National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, they checked the existing standards in the U.S. and Canada to regulate the practice of working
with domestic violence offenders.(Arias).  A pathos appeal is also presented as the authors give us an example of one state’s experience with batterer intervention.  This helps the reader to hear personal effects that actually happened instead of just seeing statistics that group people together.
   These three articles all show valid points of views, the for article helped the reader to see the ways that batterer’s intervention does help society attempt to
remedy the issue of domestic violence.  While the neutral article showed both sides, helping the reader to realize that not everything has to be strongly
agreed or disagreed with.  These programs can work for some but maybe not for others.  The against article informed the reader of the limitations the
intervention programs have that disable them from truly having a long lasting affect.  Before researching this subject I believed that the batterer’s intervention programs were effective in helping the offender to understand their crime and what caused them to commit it, and then from this they could understand how to avoid this kind of abusive control.  Now after researching I have altered my opinion to be more of a neutral one.  I better understand now that everyone is different therefore different approaches need to exist in order to better treat the many diverse types of offenders.  I still believe batterer’s intervention to be a good treatment, but I now see how it should not be the only treatment.