Batterers Intervention Program
California State Batterers Intervention Program (BIP)
This program targets those who have found themselves in the criminal justice system convicted of assault of a family member. As a condition of probation, these persons would become our clients at no expense to state or local governments. Successful completion of the program will result in an individual who will make choices leading him/her into healthier personal relationships and future avoidance of the courts’ attention.
The format of the program is weekly peer group meetings, at a nominal cost to the client. Worksheets, homework assignments, and group discussions will allow the client to personalize, or embody, the concepts being introduced. The individual begins to recognize destructive patterns of thinking and now has the tools and techniques to move into new attitudes and behaviors. Clients will be asked to take ownership and responsibility for their part of any relationship problems and they will be provided tools to address the thinking that prevents this assumption of responsibility.
This program is based on the premise that people are in control of the choices they make and are directly responsible for the current state of their lives. This is an empowering awareness; that is, if I am not satisfied with my current life situation, I can make different choices. I am no longer bound by the restrictive “that’s just the way I am” life position. I am no longer a victim of the past or of others. I am a person capable of making changes in my life. I am capable of making choices today that are consistent with me attaining and maintaining those things that are important to me in responsible ways without hurting myself or others. I am the only one standing in my way.
The principles of this program are drawn from the “Duluth Therapy Model.” The approach is based on the concept that persons must think before they act. A premise of that if people want to change their behavior, they must first change what they are thinking. If they can change their thinking, they can change their behavior. Irresponsible patterns in thinking lead to irresponsible patterns in behavior. It is possible to evaluate the thinking behind various choices, and it is possible to confront and change this thinking before acting. A person who thinks the same things, does the same things. Often, we have destructive patterns in thinking which become “automatic”. Recognizing the harm in these patterns, and challenging them, is key in making more responsible choices.
What to Expect In Group…
Each week the group will focus on various aspects of corrective thinking /cognitive restructuring techniques. At the start of each session, participants will be asked to present any violation assignments and then address the thinking behind the specific rule violations. Participants will be encouraged to hold themselves and each other accountable for irresponsible thinking as it is identified during class. Participants will hold discussion of the day’s topic and homework assignments. Group members will learn through a process and abide by a nonnegotiable code of conduct that is designed to create an atmosphere of mutual respect. The group structure is designed to develop an environment in which all involved may feel emotionally and physically safe.
The program’s goal is that each member becomes ready to make changes in the thinking and lifestyles that led them to the group. The positive reinforcement of better outcomes as a result of correct thinking will be the incentive to continue the process. Changes made in class should generalize to the world outside the group.
The following are some purposes of the group process:
- To learn how to make responsible day-to-day decisions.
- To aid group members in enhancing their ability and skill in helping themselves and others.
- To cultivate a pro–social environment where group sessions become mutual help sessions. In this safe environment, participants report problems, ask for help, share personal solutions, identify destructive thinking patterns and learn to correct them.
- To redirect negative group members toward critical self-appraisal, compliance, and cooperation.
After reading the “Program Contract” and “Glossary of Terms“, each participant should have a good understanding of the program structure. An in-depth orientation will be presented during the initial session of the program.
One of our objectives is to help lighten the workload of the Supervising Officers. We provide them with concrete, current evidence of change. We provide detailed reports about the clients’ progress or noncompliance on timely bases. Violations will be reported within 24 hours of our awareness; satisfactory performance reports may only be needed every thirty days. All reports will be detailed enough for the Supervising Officers to make fact based evaluations. Does the probationer continue to require close (or lesser) supervision? Is revocation of probation more appropriate or an early discharge? Our reports will provide the Officers another evaluation tool.
We Can Make the Difference…
The emphasis is not just about our clients’ compliance, it’s all about changing their thinking patterns. When an individual completes our program, they not only think differently, but become a model for change.
The program focuses on shifting the clients’ paradigm from the battering view. As they move away from the criminal paradigm, our clients will experience the following benefits:
- They will move into a more positive and productive way of living.
- Graduates will be able to find their place in society.
- They will have the ability to overcome the issues that led them to the attention of the Criminal Justice System.
- They will have learned to recognize the consequences of their behavior and are able to make the needed adjustments.
- They will have learned to take responsibility for their thinking and actions.
- They will be able to build healthy relationships in all areas of their lives.