ASSESSING PHYSICAL ABUSERS: BREAKING THE ABUSER’S SECRECY: FINDINGS(part 9)

Implications for Treatment

The above findings suggest that interviewing the victims of abuse is advantageous. The belief that the victim would be in harm’s way if they were to provide details for the abuser’s behavior was not supported. Victim’s indicated that they felt more understood and appreciated the opportunity to be interviewed. This resulted in a number of victims choosing to receive mental health services when initially they refused any services. The ability of the victim to provide details of the abuse appeared to have a healing and empowering effect.

In regards to the perpetrator of the abuse, having the victim interviewed helped to hold the abuser accountable for what actually occurred versus having the abuser’s unchecked statements provide a distorted version of the facts. The abusers indicated that they believed that the victim’s told the truth about the abuse history and many offered even more detail about the abuse that occurred. Several abusers admitted that they had a more significant problem with pornography, rape, and sex-related concerns than previously were known, and most abuse programs would not have revealed the degree of the sexual deviance and sexual violence without the victim having an active role in the assessment process. The end result is that the abuser has more to invest in being open and honest than in continuing to maintain the abuse secret and therefore to surrender power to the treatment process. One significant benefit of having the information directly from the victim was that the severity and chronicity of the abusive behavior was identified, therefore allowing a more tailored treatment approach.

Summary

Interviewing the victims and partners of physical abusers allows for significant and important information to be obtained. Obtaining as much collateral information as possible from numerous sources appears to significantly diminish the physical abuser’s ability to maintain secrecy concerning the degree and severity of the abuse engaged in, the use and abuse of pornography, substance use/abuse, and ongoing physical and sexual abuse. The result is that a more thorough and effective risk assessment occurs that decreases the likelihood of ongoing abuse occurring undetected. In addition, the physical abuser receives more effective treatment that addresses idiosyncratic areas that might otherwise been ignored or unidentified if the abuser was not thoroughly assessed and information not gathered as described in the article.

Representative APR 391%

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