CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Receives Grant to Address Domestic Violence Recidivism

June 13, 2019

CSAC is excited to announce a grant from Blue Shield of California for domestic violence recidivism prevention. The grant funding will allow CSAC to provide research and technical assistance necessary to create a domestic violence analytical tool, support a six-county pilot project testing innovative strategies for preventing recidivism in cases of domestic violence, and convene a statewide conference in November.  

In the early 1990s, California lead the nation by establishing a mandatory 52-week intervention program for persons placed on probation for domestic violence battery. However, a 2012 Crime and Justice Institute report and other studies questioned the effectiveness of court-mandated intervention programs in light of high rates of domestic violence recidivism. Some studies, using direct victim interviews over time, estimated repeat violence in 40 to 80 percent of cases.

The report concluded, “…domestic violence is a complicated community problem and we have yet to figure out what works for effectively intervening with batterers to reduce recidivism. Research to date has indicated that the most common court-mandated batterer intervention programs do not reduce recidivism or alter batterers’ attitudes about violence.” (Webster, M. and K. Bechtel (2012). Evidence-Based Practices for Assessing, Supervising and Treating Domestic Violence Offenders. Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice: Boston, MA.) 

In response, CSAC spearheaded a reform effort to improve California’s intervention treatment program. Last legislative session, CSAC secured the passage of Assembly Bill 372 (Stone), creating the six-county pilot project that the Blue Shield grant will help fund.

Napa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Yolo Counties will offer an alternative and innovative evidence-based approach to the current batterer’s intervention treatment program. This pilot project is the first step in assessing the efficacy of treatment programs, whether or not they comply with current statutory requirements, to address the criminogenic needs of batterers and result in reducing recidivism.

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