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.”.
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