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Applying Effective Corrections Principles (RNR) to Partner Abuse Interventions

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Results of outcome evaluations of the domestic violence (DV) programs are not encouraging. Overall, the most optimistic conclusion is that these programs have only a modest impact on reducing repeat partner violence. Recently, there are calls for DV programs to "grow up," adapt a paradigm shift, shed ideology, and determine how the maximum impact can be realized from work to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV). The following review examines why program results are so unconvincing and proposes a comprehensive framework to advance the field. Specifically, it recommends that applying the risk-need-responsivity (RNR) principles of effective corrections could substantially improve treatment results. Using this framework, the article identifies selected risk assessment tools to screen offenders into appropriate levels of service (the risk principle) and provides an extensive review of the literature on appropriate targets for change (the need principle). Problems with substance use (particularly alcohol abuse), emotion management, self-regulation, and attitudes supportive of partner abuse have substantial empirical support as factors related to IPV. There is weaker but promising support for targeting the impact of association with peers who are supportive of abuse of women, poor communication skills, and motivation to change abusive behavior patterns. Responsivity could be enhanced through incorporation of motivational interviewing techniques, the processes of change identified in the Transtheoretical Model, solution-focused and strength-based approaches, and attention to identity change and cultural issues. In addition, the review describes strategies to insure ongoing program integrity, a key factor in implementing effective interventions.
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Keywords: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; DYNAMIC RISK FACTORS; EFFECTIVE CORRECTIONS; OFFENDER PROGRAMS; PARTNER ABUSE; RNR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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