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Home > Court‐mandated interventions for individuals convicted of domestic violence: an updated Campbell systematic review.

Wilson, David B and Feder, Lynette and Olaghere, Ajima (2021) Court‐mandated interventions for individuals convicted of domestic violence: an updated Campbell systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews , 17 , (1) , e1151.

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Background: Survey research and analysis of police records, hospital emergency rooms, and women's shelters have clearly established the severity of the intimate partner violence problem and the need to find programs to address this issue. Roughly 1 in 4 women in an intimate relationship is a victim of intimate partner violence. Court‐mandated batterer intervention programs (BIPs) have been implemented throughout the United States as a leading method to address this problem. These programs are also now implemented in Canada and Europe. These programs emerged from the women's shelter movement leading to programs with a strong feminist orientation, such as the Duluth Model. The programs that were developed were group‐based and relied on psychoeducational methods. Their aim was to get men to take responsibility for their sexist beliefs and stop abusing their partners by teaching them alternative responses for handling their anger. More recent programs draw from cognitive‐behavioral therapeutic principles or a mix of the latter with feminist components as well. 

Results: The mean effect for official reports of intimate partner violence from experimental studies showed a modest (but statistically nonsignificant) benefit for the program group (odds ratio, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.49–1.28], k = 7) whereas the mean effect for victim reported outcomes showed equal outcomes for both groups (e.g., no benefit or harm; odds ratio, 0.99; 95% CI, [0.74–1.32], k = 7). The quasi‐experimental studies showed a small but not statistically significant benefit for the program group on official reports (odds ratio, 0.54; 95% CI [0.24–1.22], k = 7). One quasi‐experiment reported a nonsignificant effect for a victim report outcome (odds ratio, 1.76; 95% CI [0.50–6.14], k = 1). None of the analyses were statistically significant. Thus, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that these programs are effective. Both the official measure and the victim reported measures have potential sources of bias, increasing the uncertainty regarding any benefits or harms related to these programs. 

Authors' Conclusions: The findings, we believe, raise doubts about the effectiveness of court‐mandated BIPs in reducing re‐assault among men convicted of misdemeanor intimate partner violence. New programs and/or entirely new approaches to this important social problem should be explored.

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