The influence of batterer intervention programs on male perpetrators of intimate partner violence: Reports of change in beliefs and behaviors

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Studies of batterer intervention programs (BIPs) have primarily focused on assessing program efficacy through reassault or recidivism rates with mixed results. Few studies have sought to describe the BIP process, or what components of BIPs might motivate and facilitate change among perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) from the perspective of the men who attend such programs. As part of a two-year ethnographic study, we collected 76 semi-structured, open-ended interviews with male clients enrolled in one of two community-based BIPs. The current analysis uses those interviews to understand clients' perspectives on the lessons, changes or skills they gained during their tenure in a BIP. Clients reported gaining 1) a more holistic understanding of IPV, 2) a greater sense of accountability for their behaviors, 3) the ability to identify and deescalate anger, and 4) new skills to improve communication. These findings suggest that change is possible among BIP clients, and that perhaps we need to consider intermediary or alternative measure of program success for BIPs. In particular, measures are needed that can capture some of the more nuanced cognitive and behavioral changes that occur during the BIP process in “real time.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-329
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Offender Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Law

Cite this