Outcomes and Recidivism in Mandated Batterer Intervention Before and After Introducing a Specialized Domestic Violence Court.


University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada [Email]


Both specialized domestic violence (DV) courts and batterer intervention programs were developed to more adequately address intimate partner abuse and recidivism; however, little research has studied them concurrently. The current research examined clinical outcomes and police-reported recidivism in 382 men mandated to attend the Calgary Counselling Centre's Responsible Choices for Men's (RCM) groups between 1998 and 2009, before and after a specialized DV court was established in 2001. The study examines associations between categorical demographic and criminal justice variables, most of which were not correlated with post-group recidivism. Before the specialized court was implemented, 45 RCM members reported significantly more clinical issues at pretest than the 282 RCM members after court implementation (all scores adjusted by social desirability), although the effect sizes were negligible. Regarding group outcomes, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem (adjusted for social desirability) significantly improved on average for all RCM members irrespective of court implementation. Before the specialized DV court was developed, recidivism occurred after RCM program completion for a large proportion of men (41.2%), compared with only 8.2% after court implementation, a significant difference with a moderate effect size. The recidivism results are interpreted in the context of the significant justice and community collaborations entailed in creating the specialized DV court.


batterer intervention programs,intimate partner violence,outcome evaluation,recidivism,specialized domestic violence courts,violence against women,