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Free Content The Effectiveness of Intervention Programs for Perpetrators and Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

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In this review, we provide a descriptive and detailed review of intervention programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators and survivor-victims. Given the extensive personal, interpersonal, and societal costs associated with IPV, it is essential that services being offered by the criminal justice, mental health, and medical communities have requisite empirical support to justify their implementation. The review involved a detailed summary of all studies published since 1990 using randomized or quasi-experimental designs that compared an active intervention program to a relevant comparison condition. These studies included 20 studies investigating the effectiveness of “traditional” forms of batterer intervention programs (BIPs) aimed at perpetrators of IPV, 10 studies that investigated the effectiveness of alternative formats of BIPs, 16 studies of brief intervention programs for IPV victim-survivors, and 15 studies of more extended intervention programs for IPV victim-survivors. Interventions for perpetrators showed equivocal results regarding their ability to lower the risk of IPV, and available studies had many methodological flaws. More recent investigations of novel programs with alternative content have shown promising results. Among interventions for victim-survivors of IPV, a range of therapeutic approaches have been shown to produce enhancements in emotional functioning, with the strongest support for cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches in reducing negative symptomatic effects of IPV. Supportive advocacy in community settings has been shown to reduce the frequency of revictimization relative to no-treatment controls, although rates of revictimization remain alarmingly high in these studies. Brief interventions for victim-survivors have had more complex and less consistently positive effects. Several studies have found significant increases in safety behaviors, but enhanced use of community resources is often not found. It remains unclear whether brief safety interventions produce longer term reduction in IPV revictimization. Discussion summarizes the general state of knowledge on interventions for IPV perpetrators and victim-survivors and important areas for future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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