The programs work, they work well and they work in the long term.
They show a sharp reduction in the nature and severity of violence over the duration of the programs and that this reduction is maintained and improved upon in subsequent months and years. Most of the men become violence free or almost violence free two years after their program.
This continued reduction in violence is not without effort. Men fear relapsing and often seek further help. This does not negate the value of the programs, which set them on this path.
There is no evidence that one type of violence is transferred to another, eg, physical to psychological. All types reduce together.
Mandated men have significantly better results than non-mandated men. This may be due to motivation and the role of Corrections in managing the men and possibly also to the lower incidence of mental health problems among mandated men.
A critical factor in the quality of programs, as viewed by the men, is the quality of the facilitators. The group dynamics are frequently cited as another vital factor. Program design did not seem to play a great part.
The questionnaire responses showed a lower reduction in the men’s perceptions of the seriousness of their behaviour than did the more objective response to numbers and types of incidents. This probably reflects the improved perception of the consequences of their behaviour and this view was supported by phone interview responses, which reinforced and expanded on the questionnaire information overall.
3. Partner Views
Partners who were in a current relationship with the man, original or new, were positive.
Partners who had separated felt it had not protected them or had come too late.
4. Other Factors
Approx 27% reported problems with alcohol. This had improved to about 14% in later surveys.
Approx 34% reported mental illness and it might be speculated that this is an underestimate. The most frequent problem reported was depression. This rate did not change.
A high percentage of men (nearly 80%) were in contact with children, including about 7% who were sole parents. The programs do not deal with parenting issues in an adequate way and this is a need that should be addressed more fully.