Male IPV Perpetrators' Self-Reports of Accountability: A Content Analysis of Exit Letters Written by Clients Who Completed a Batterer Intervention Program Between 1990 and 2015

Penelope K. Morrison, Alyssa J. Stewart, Jesse Cenci, Judy C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Batterer intervention programs (BIPs) continue to be the primary mode of intervention for male perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV). The extent, however, to which BIPs are effective remains unclear. In particular, studies are needed that can provide detailed information on how accountability is promoted during the BIP process, and if clients leave a BIP with a clear sense of what it means to be responsible for their behaviors. The present study seeks to expand our knowledge of accountability as it is understood in the BIP context through an exploration of clients' written reflections on their experiences with such a program. A random sample of 555 exit letters were collected from a participating BIP in 2015 and analyzed to understand clients' perceptions on accountability. A three-coder iterative approach to analysis, focusing on content and global coding of broad thematic and subthematic categories was used. Our findings show that many clients admitted to the use of some type of abusive behavior as the precipitating factor for their involvement in the BIP, and that additionally, they generally recognized the need to be responsible for their behaviors and the consequences associated with their abuse. However, we also found that an increased emphasis on accountability in BIPs may be warranted. In particular, more research is needed to explore how BIPs promote accountability among their clients, and how individuals who complete a BIP understand and interpret their role in perpetrating abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-342
Number of pages26
JournalPartner Abuse
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Law

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