The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth examination of a batterer intervention program (BIP) and an alternative treatment approach using restorative justice (RJ) for domestic violence (DV) offenders. The National Science Foundation (NSF) study is a two-part study; this National Institute of Justice (NIJ) study builds on Part II. Part I of the NSF study compared BIP only and BIP plus Circles of Peace (CP) for all DV cases (intimate partner and family violence). Part II of the NSF study and the NIJ study focused on intimate partner violence cases only. Interviews with offenders and victims over multiple points in time, video-recordings of treatment sessions, and a case record review allowed the researchers to test emerging theories that BIP plus CP may be a viable alternative to treatment, while ensuring that safety concerns are addressed when using this approach.
This National Institute of Justice (NIJ) study involved primary data collection (interviews with offenders and victims, video recording of treatment sessions, and a case record review). Using high definition (HD) video recording allowed the research team to capture the complexity of social interaction and behavior in treatment sessions that would not be otherwise observable with audio recording; it also allowed the team to attend to different information over time and to assess model fidelity.
Gathering in-depth data, including interviews and video recordings, on the process of the two treatment options allowed for a better understanding of how each of the approaches contribute to a reduction of violence and a more nuanced understanding of whether conjoint approaches are actually safe - probing the data for subtle forms of coercion during the treatment sessions but also seeking data on how these approaches may actually facilitate improvements in sexist attitudes and behaviors, insight into destructive patterns of relating, etc., significantly enhancing the quantitative findings.
During Part II of the National Science Foundation (NSF) study and the NIJ study, it was estimated that 224 male and female offenders (ranging in age, race, and ethnicity) would be randomly assigned to one of two treatments (approximately 112 to each treatment). The actual total was 274. There were separate groups for male and female offenders. Initial and ongoing assessments from the case records were analyzed quantitatively and were used to describe demographic and clinical characteristics of the sample.
Either immediately before or immediately after the usual intake assessment, offenders were informed by the treatment provider that there was a study about intimate partner treatment programs and that a member of the research team would like to speak with them to tell them about the study. If a member of the research team was unable to be there in person, the treatment provider informed the offender that there is a study about intimate partner violence treatment programs, and if they would like to learn more about it they could watch a short video about the study. Offenders were told that speaking to the member of the research team or viewing the video or participating in the study would have no effect on their treatment.
Victim contact information for interviews was obtained from the treatment provider if a victim expressed interest in participating in the study. As required by statute, the treatment provider contacted victims (by phone) and informed them that their offender is in treatment and inquired about their safety. The treatment provider informed the victim that there was a study about intimate partner violence treatment programs for offenders that involved interviews that they could participate in. The treatment provider asked if they could pass along the victim's contact information to the research team. The treatment provider also sent recruitment flyers to victims with contact information for a member of the research team. If the victim was interested in participating in an interview, s/he could contact the research team member.
Members of the research team met with the domestic violence treatment providers at the local provider they were partnered with for the study to explain the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) study and invite their participation in the video recordings of the treatment sessions.
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS AND VICTIM ADVOCATES
Members of the research team were involved with training and screening community volunteers and victim advocates to participate in the Circles of Peace (CP). Following the training of the volunteers and advocates, they were asked by the researchers if they would like to learn about a research study in which they could participate.
Domestic violence (Intimate partner violence only) offenders who were sentenced to treatment for a misdemeanor domestic violence crime
from the Salt Lake City Justice Court or West Valley Justice Court (starting on
April 15, 2015) and their victims.
administrative records data
The collection contains 2 SPSS data files: Case-Record-Review---BIP--CP-n-68-.sav (n=68, 313 variables) and Case-Record-Review---BIP-Only-n-92-.sav (n=92, 398 variables). These datasets contain variables on demographics and variables that indicate which topics were covered in interviews.