Intimate Partner Abuse Solution programs

Identifying high-priority needs within the criminal justice system for programs focused on intimate partner violence prevention
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Perpetrator characteristics Perpetrator interventions Criminal justice United States of America

Intimate partner abuse solution (IPAS) programs were first developed in the 1970s as diversion programs to prevent jail overcrowding and have historically been referred to as batterer intervention programs. Although these programs are now known by different labels and apply different approaches and philosophies, collectively they are designed as alternatives to incarceration that prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) by holding perpetrators accountable for their behaviour and prioritising safety and justice for victims.

Despite widespread adoption and use of IPAS programs by court systems around the United States, there remains inconsistent and limited information on their effectiveness broadly and on which models offer the most promise.

The authors of this report convened a panel of experts to better understand the needs of these programs. In a three-session virtual workshop, the group discussed the programs, challenges and solutions and identified 33 high-priority needs, which cover four major areas: content covered in current IPAS programs; program implementation; connections between IPAS programs and criminal justice and community entities; and challenges in conducting rigorous research on IPAS programs.

Key findings:

  • Systems are not always based on an evidence-informed, theoretical model of change that incorporates an assessment of the risk factors and needs to address interpersonal violence.
  • IPAS programs suffer from a lack of funding for both program implementation and rigorous research.
  • Most programs do not conduct any aftercare or follow-up with participants after program completion.
  • Programs are limited by a lack of information from survivors about ongoing interactions with the participant.
  • There is a lack of understanding of and consistency in the process of referring perpetrators to IPAS programs and potential biases associated with this process.
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