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Men's Batterer's Intervention Program

What is the Batterers' Intervention Program (BIP)?

The 26-week program for men who batter teaches that violence is rooted in a desire to have control. We think it is very important to stress that the abuse in a battering relationship consists of more than isolated episodes of physical violence. We define abuse as any behavior which controls or dominates another person; or inhibits another from making an independent choice. This may include lying, isolating, name-calling, or other verbal abuse. We name violence as any behavior which causes fear in another person. This may include threats, yelling, sexual mistreatment, or outright physical violence. An important feature of these definitions is that the intention of the one doing the abuse doesn't matter. It is the experience of being afraid or of being controlled that names an action as violent or abusive.

The men are required to sign a release giving us the right to share with you the record of their attendance at the BIP sessions. Due to our confidentiality policy, we cannot answer questions about what an individual has discussed in group. The only exception will be when we think an immediately dangerous situation exists. At that time, we will attempt to warn those whom we perceive to be in danger. You should be aware that enrolling in BIP may be a tool of manipulation. For BIP to be effective, men need to do the program for themselves rather than as a means to keep a relationship intact (maintain control).

Is BIP therapy or anger management?

The Crisis Connection, Inc. Batterers' Intervention Program (BIP) is facilitated by men and women who are committed to working toward the goal of ending men's violence and abuse against their partners. They do not offer therapy or counseling, their role is closer to that of a teacher. They present information which can help men end their abusive and violent behavior. Batterers' Intervention is much more than anger management. As stated above, we do not believe that abusive/ violent behavior is rooted in anger, but in the desire to exert power and control over another.

What are the topics of discussion?

The curriculum for the BIP discussion groups was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Duluth, MN. The following topics are covered during the group:

  1. Non-violence v. physical violence
  2. Non-threatening behavior v. using intimidation
  3. Respect v. using emotional abuse
  4. Trust & support v. using isolation
  5. Honesty & accountability v. minimizing, denying & blaming
  6. Sexual respect v. using sexual abuse
  7. Partnership v. using economic abuse, male privilege & using children
  8. Negotiation & fairness v. coercion & threats

All group participants are expected to prepare for each session and participate in all discussions.

Will he change?

There is no guarantee that the men in this program will change. A man can only change if he chooses to do so. In most cases, a man enters our program because he has seen some consequences for his violence. Whether or not any change in his behavior is possible will depend on two things: his willingness to accept responsibility for his behavior and the fear he has caused, and his willingness to give up the pattern of being in control of the relationship.

You may be wondering if it is possible for a man to change his abusive/violent behavior. The answer is yes, but it may take a long time, and only you can be the judge of whether his behavior is still abusive/ controlling. The following questions may help you to evaluate your situation:

  1. Has he acknowledged the acts of violence and the pattern of abuse and control towards me?
  2. Has he stopped being violent towards me?
  3. Are there threats implied in his words or movements?
  4. Am I still afraid when we are together?
  5. Am I able to disagree with him without fear?
  6. Am I able to act independently of him without hassles?
  7. Does he express feelings other than anger?
  8. Is he able to express anger without being abusive?
  9. Does he realize that he is at risk of becoming physically violent in the future?
  10. Does he respect my feelings, boundaries and sexual wishes?
  11. Do I feel safe?

A few last thoughts...

It is common for men attending BIP to turn information obtained from the program around to meet their goal of control. If a situation arises where he says a BIP facilitator said something and it does not make sense to you or seem appropriate, please feel free to call Crisis Connection to verify what we teach. The following are things that will NEVER be said to a man in our program:

  1. "Your partner needs counseling if you are to end your abusiveness/violence."
  2. "Your behavior is not that bad, you don't really need to be here."
  3. "After BIP you'll be cured of being violent."
  4. "Your partner has to (anything, you fill in the blank) to support your efforts."

It is our responsibility to warn you that class/group attendance is not a guarantee that his behavior of using controlling tactics will end. Research has shown that there may be an increase in threats and emotional abuse after men attend a batterers' group. Many men attend after their partner has left or has threatened to leave with the goal of winning them back. Once the relationship is reestablished, some men drop out of the program and the cycle of abuse/ violence continues. Therefore, we urge you to continue to ensure your safety and the safety of your children by staying in contact with the Crisis Connection, Inc. victim's advocates.

We recognize that the experience of abuse leads to feelings of isolation, depression, fear, guilt and shame. The support from women who have had similar experiences is very helpful in regaining self confidence and obtaining correct information on your options and community resources. We encourage you to attend the free and confidential Crisis Connection, Inc. Womens' Support Group which meets twice monthly in a secure location. Contact Crisis Connection at any of our office numbers or our 800# for information.

Your safety is our main concern.
We support whatever steps you feel are necessary to feel safe.

For additional information please see:

Crisis Connection Statistics

Crisis Connection Home Page

Crisis Connection Domestic Violence

What is Men’s Batterers’ Intervention?

Anger Management v Men’s Batterers’ Intervention

How Can I Tell If He’s Really Changing?

Advocacy Empowerment Wheel

Making a Difference…One Life at a Time

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