The Challenges of Working With Men Who Perpetrate Partner Violence: Perspectives and Observations of Experts Who Work With Batterer Intervention Programs

Penelope K. Morrison, Lynn Hawker, Patricia A. Cluss, Elizabeth Miller, Rhonda Fleming, Terry Bicehouse, Donna George, Jessica Burke, Kalem Wright, Judy C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Batterer intervention programs (BIPs) constitute the primary treatment for perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV). Systematic evaluations of BIPs, however, have yielded modest results in terms of these programs’ ability to reduce perpetration. Descriptive studies, which can provide information on the contexts and process associated with BIPs, can provide insights into the underlying mechanisms that might promote change among BIP clients, and as such are important to improving efficacy measures for BIPs. To date, however, limited research exists on what challenges BIPs encounter in working with clients, and how those challenges present barriers to behavioral change among perpetrators at the intervention level. As part of a 2-year ethnographic study, we conducted 36 individual semistructured interviews with professionals working with BIPs. We identified six themes related to challenges to promoting behavioral change among men who perpetrate violence: (a) social acceptance of IPV, (b) hypermasculine attitudes, (c) emotional problems, (d) childhood exposure to violence, (e) co-morbid mental health issues, and (f) denial, minimization, and blame. Our results have implications for thinking about some of the contextual factors that may impede BIPs ability to produce desired outcomes and for identifying areas in which programs can be tailored to improve the overall client experience. Our results also point to the need for a more coordinated community response to IPV, and in particular to helping provide resources that support BIPs sustained, safe, and as effective as possible work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP3524-NP3546
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume36
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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