ASSESSING PHYSICAL ABUSERS: BREAKING THE ABUSER’S SECRECY: FINDINGS(part 2)

FINDINGS(part 2)

Prior Treatment

The majority of subjects had never received anger management or domestic abuse treatment prior to the current (index) offense. Only 20% of the subjects had engaged in prior domestic abuse or anger management treatment and most completed that treatment program (93%).

Restraining Orders

Seventy-five percent of the subjects had never had a restraining order against them; Twenty-five percent had a restraining order against them for the current offense. Of those with a restraining order, 6% had violated the restraining order on multiple occasions. Of significance was that of those who violated a restraining order, none had violated the restraining order on only one occasion, but rather on multiple occasions.

Childhood Abuse

Approximately half of the physical abusers (49%) reported that they were the victim of or witnessed abuse within their household when children or adolescents. It would be expected that the above percentage is an underestimation of the true percent of the abusers who experienced some form of abuse during their childhood.

Children Present During Offense

One area often not assessed with physical abusers is to what degree the children may have been involved in, witnessed, or also abused. It is estimated that 40-60% of men & women who abuse other men/women ALSO abuse their children (American Psychology Association, 1996). In the current study, children appeared to be involved in most of the incidents of domestic assaults, either directly or indirectly. In 27% of the current offenses, children witnessed the offense, and in 35% of the current offenses, children were directly involved in some way in the index offense. Information utilized to determine whether children were present or involved in the current offense included interview data obtained from the subject, victim, and in some cases, the children, as well as from collateral information (e.g., police reports, victim interview). Interestingly all of the physical abusers acknowledged the children’s presence or involvement in the current offense when confronted with collateral information.

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