Center for Domestic Peace lauds the California State Auditor’s recent report pointing to systemic failures regarding the monitoring and accountability of batterer intervention programs (BIPS). As co-author of the original legislation that established the statewide standards for BIPS, we and domestic violence advocates throughout the state have known for years that failure on the part of the courts and probation to ensure accountability of the offender to complete the 52-week class requirement is key to the high domestic violence recidivism rates.
Suggesting the problem is the length or model of the mandate classes ignores the role of the system to ensure class completion. The Auditor’s report makes it clear – full completion of the classes results in much lower recidivism rates.
Accountability for ending domestic violence cannot be achieved without the full accountability of the key systems engaged with the perpetrators. This is not a new concept, but one clearly established since the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994.
The question must be asked: Why are key systems not upholding them accountable? We have almost 30 years of best practices in support of this need. The State Auditor is spot on for suggesting it’s time to try something else. An oversight committee is a step in the right direction and should include representation from the domestic violence advocacy community to ensure the experiences of survivors who are impacted by BIPS are included.
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