Dr. Edward Gondolf, research director of the Mid- Atlantic Training Institute said at this week’s International Conference of Family Violence Research that treatment programs aimed at curbing the violent behaviors of physically abusive men can effectively lower rates of domestic violence.
After a 30-month study, researchers found that 58% of the wives and girlfriends of 580 physically abusive men who had entered behavior-modification centers either willingly or under a court order reported no physical abuse since their partner’s participation in the program. However, rates for relapse into physically abusive behavior were higher for men with previous police records and histories of alcoholism. Most women told researchers that they were still subject to verbal abuse and threats.
Although Gondolf believes “the outcomes of the programs are better than some victim advocates and previous studies might suggest,” he also said that “there is still much to do to improve the programs, to get more men involved, to change communities in a way to prevent such violence and abuse.”