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Evaluating the Efficacy of Interventions with Men Who Batter

by Etiony Aldarondo

With the increased awareness about domestic violence, several prevention and intervention methods have been developed to stop and decrease violence in intimate relationships. While some people argue that lives are being saved through these interventions, others strongly question their effectiveness, in the face of repeat assaults by batterers. This chapter provides an overview of what is known about the effectiveness of legal sanctions, men's programs, and community responses to the issue.

  • The United States has not adopted a statutory code on domestic violence. Instead, the most commonly used legal interventions with men who batter are court order protections and mandated arrest and pro-arrest policies.

  • According to victims' experiences, protective orders are an effective form of violence deterrence for many men. A racial/ethnic difference was found in the effects of protective orders. Black women and those in lower income brackets reported more re-abuse than white or Latina women. In addition, women who took out a protective order and were mothers reported more re-abuse from their partners than women without children.

  • Studies regarding the effects of arrest on re-abuse of women by their partners obtained different and contradicting results. Some studies found that arrest decreased the likelihood of re-abuse, while other suggested that arrest increased the risk of re-victimization. When using women's reports, studies indicated that women whose partners had been arrested reported lower levels of new instances of physical abuse than women whose partners were not arrested. Four out of seven arrest studies concluded that arresting was an effective method of reducing domestic violence.

  • According to individual outcome studies, most men stop or interrupt the use of violence following completion of a batterer intervention program (BIP). However, one third of program completers go on to re-abuse their female partners.

  • In studies with men who completed the BIP, participants reported abusing their female partners less than men who did not complete the program.

  • Studies that compared men assigned to a BIP and men not participating in any group program found that men in BIPs had lower rates of re-abuse than men who had not attended any program.

  • The author concludes by emphasizing that the efficacy of protection orders, arrest policies, and BIPs are closely tied to the quality of the community response to domestic violence. He points out that many of the determining factors for domestic violence are rooted in society and thus there is a need for a fundamental social transformation regarding this issue.

Aldarondo, E. (2002). Evaluating the Efficacy of Interventions with Men Who Batter. In E. Aldarondo and F. Mederos (Eds.) Men Who Batter: Intervention and Prevention Strategies in a Diverse Society (pp. 3-1 ,3-20). New York: Civic Research Institute.

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The National
Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

The New York State Spanish Domestic Violence Hotline:




©2007. National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence.
All Rights Reserved. Last updated 05/30/07.