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Completion and Recidivism Among Court- and Self-Referred Batterers in a Psychoeducational Group Treatment Program: Implications for Intervention and Public Policy (From Domestic Violence Offenders: Current Interventions, Research, and Implications for Policies and Standards, P 199-220, 2001, Robert

NCJ Number
Alan Rosenbaum; Paul J. Gearan; Charissa Ondovic
Date Published
22 pages
This study examined the relationship between referral source (self-referred versus court-mandated), participant characteristics, treatment length (7, 10, and 20 weeks), treatment completion, and recidivism in a sample of 326 men who had completed at least 1 session of a batterers treatment program.
Background data, including type of referral were obtained from written reports of the intake interviews. Treatment records provided information on each participant's time in treatment, and recidivism data were obtained from an examination of the participants' criminal records. Recidivism was defined as at least one arrest within 20 months of a participant's last group session for either a violation of the abuse prevention act or an assault and battery with violation of the abuse prevention act. A total of 82 men were self-referred, and 244 were court-mandated for batterers treatment. The treatment program, called the Men's Educational Workshop, consisted of an intake interview followed by a six-session psychoeducational group treatment program. The first three sessions were intended to alter the attitudes of abusive men that contributed to their aggression against women. The last three sessions taught intervention techniques for the prevention of aggression toward female partners. Study results indicated that court-referred men had a significantly higher treatment completion rate than self-referred men in the 20-session condition, but not in either of the shorter treatment lengths. Men who were exposed to their fathers' physical abuse of their mothers and men who had been aggressive in past relationships had significantly lower completion rates. Recidivism was lowest for men who had been court-referred and completed treatment. Treatment completion was associated with significantly lower rates of recidivism for court-referred but not self-referred participants. Participants in the 10-session and 20-session treatment programs had significantly lower rates of recidivism than those in the 7-session program, but were not significantly different from one another. No participant characteristics were found to be significantly associated with recidivism. Implications are drawn for the structure of batterers treatment programs and for the development of batterers treatment standards. 5 tables and 35 references