The NY Model for Batterer Programs website is just what I expected . . . cutting edge!
I have already downloaded articles to share with colleagues around the issues of accountability and the use of language. As you will often say, 'from a structural perspective, this work mirrors the antiracist movement'. Thank you for creating a living website that I can use as a resource. The fact that it will grow and change to mirror the growth of the movement is exciting and will keep me coming back for more. And one more thing – thank you for the work you do to ensure peace and safety for all of us.
– Sandy Bernabei
Founding Member, Anti-Racist Alliance
Many thanks to everyone at the VCS Community Change Project for this website and your great work. The website on NY Model batterer programs is outstanding.
It's refreshing to have the myths and misconceptions regarding men's entitlement to abuse thier partners addressed, especially in the context that batterer programs do fix them! I have passed the website on to the coordinator of our local batterer program and Victim Services coordinator.
– Joe Burdo
PO, Domestic Violence Initiative, NYS Division of Parole
The NY Model for Batterer Programs is too good to be true. I want to encourage our state to move to this model.
– Kathy L Carroll
Programs Manager, Office of the Attorney General
Victims Services Unit, Oklahoma City, OK
Having gone to the VCS training several times, several years ago, I want to tell you I value your message now more than ever. I have forwarded your web site material and high praises to all corners of Alaska. We have been so co-opted. We have moved so far form the analysis of oppression and need for social change. Yours is a voice of clarity. Thank you for doing what you do and for remaining strong against the tide.
– Peg Coleman
Executive Director, South Peninsula Haven House
Mental Health professionals tend to view behaviors as rooted in individual pathology and/or family dysfunction. The New York Model for Batterer Programs reminds us that individual behaviors may just as likely be rooted in oppressive systems and powerful social/cultural norms. This has far reaching implications about how all of us need to respond to men’s violence against women. The NY Model has dramatically altered my private practice, my teaching, my supervision and my leadership as clinical director of a family service agency.
– Dr. Gail K. Golden, Ed. D., LCSW, Author, Trainer, Therapist
Clinical Director, VCS Inc. – New City, NY
I became a staff member in a NY Model batterer program after many years of representing women seeking to leave their abusers. When I had questions about the material in the staff trainings I attended, I found myself wondering about what the clients in my law practice would say. Invariably I realized that everything I was learning was compatible with what they would tell me. This fully confirmed to me the validity of the perspective we teach.
– Barry Goldstein, Esq., Author
Scared To Leave Afraid To Stay: Paths From Family Violence to Safety – Westchester County, NY
I found the nymbp.org site well organized and easy to navigate – an accomplishment in itself. There is much instructive and thought-provoking information here. I can't say that I fully endorse all the content or assumptions, but they raise a challenge that batterer programs need to consider.
– Dr. Edward W. Gondolf
Research Director, Mid-Atlantic Addiction Training Institute (MAATI) Indiana University of Pennsylvania – Indiana, PA
Your site is excellent. We have been working on standards for Batterer Programs in Missouri and I will forward your information to those of us working on the committee. Thanks for your years of work… Jon Cohen would have been incredibly pleased with the results. Jon's work, as well as that of Phyllis and all of you at VCS Inc., continues to be a guiding force for us here. Thanks for all your efforts.
– Lisa Jones
Program Manager, Victim Service Division, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – St. Louis County, MO
That domestic violence is not simply the collection of individual actions by individual actors, but a deeply rooted social problem is a central axiom in social science research on the problem. But rarely does that axiom find its way into batterers' programs, which tend to individualize and pathologize this deeply social problem. As challenging as this new, innovative model is, this website is easily navigable, and terrifically useful. It is guaranteed to raise consciousness and controversy -- both vitally needed. And the fact that it is a model program from my home state makes me prouder to be a New Yorker!
– Michael Kimmel, PhD
Professor of Sociology, SUNY Stony Brook
If you run a Batterers Intervention Program in any setting please study this website—and then rethink what you are doing! This website is clear, practical, easy-to-use, and reflects over 25 years of the best thinking about batterers’ programs in the United States. It precisely lays out the appropriate role for batterers programs within an understanding of the larger movement to end male violence.
- Paul Kivel
Co-founder, Oakland Men’s Project; Author
Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence that Tears Our Lives Apart
Taking the lead from decades of expertise of the Anti-Violence Against Women Movement, the New York Model for Batterer Programs helps expose male entitlement and the simple truth that men choose to abuse because they can. As such, the stress is where it needs to be – on accountability. Designed as a tool of the Court, the NY Model embodies the expectation that systems be accountable as well. We seek broad social change of the social norms and oppressive systems that sustain violence against women. In the meantime, minimally, we expect accountability.
- Patti Jo Newell
Director of Public Policy
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The new website is great... easy to find items on it...no small feat. The strategy of VCS Community Change Project is one that I agree with, that of social change instead of just focusing on an individual. Kudos to all of you!
- Anne O'Dell
Former Detective Sergeant, San Diego Police Dept. – CA
Former President, STOPDV
Those of us who have for many years managed domestic violence programs providing direct services to victims and survivors are not often impressed with either the methodology or supervision of batterer programs. Not so the New York Model. In fact, for some years now we have required all new staff within a year of their hire to attend the training so that they can understand true accountability. And more important still, the analysis of the link between domestic violence and oppressive societal norms is articulated in a way I have never seen elsewhere. And it is vital to understand.
– Lois Galgay Reckitt
Executive Director, Family Crisis Services – Portland, ME
The preponderance of evidence now accumulated in the field calls into serious question the clinical efficacy of batterer programs based on the most prevalent national models. Since batterer programs do not appear to be achieving the goal of rehabilitation with the individual men they are able to reach, it becomes all the more important for courts and programs to promote the alternative goal of accountability. Indeed, the New York Model distinguishes itself by stressing accountability and monitoring rather than behavioral change as its driving focus.
– Michael Rempel
Research Director, Center for Court Innovation, New York, NY (testimonial adapted from Testing the Effectiveness of Batterer Programs and Judicial Monitoring , by Melissa Labriola, Michael Rempel, and Robert C. Davis)
The NY Model is the only program for batterers that combines the social justice values of the early battered women's movement with real accountability to the court and ultimately to the community in which the court is sited, which is where accountability belongs.
I have never been a fan of BIPs as an alternative to punishment. There is scant evidence that they reduce violence, let alone the range of controlling tactics that typically accompany physical abuse. Even the so-called "political" models that replace traditional therapy with confrontation and anti-sexist education share the underlying assumption that battering reflects a deficit in learning and so remain a form of counseling.
At best, they hold out false hope to victims, increasing their willingness to "try" again. At worst, they reinforce abusive behavior by sending the implicit message that abuse will be met with education, not sanctions. The NY Model makes no claim to "fix" abusive men or to keep women safe. It recognizes the possibility of change. But because it understands that battering is rooted in systemic racism and sexism rather than in bad genes or judgement, it also recognizes that the system needs fixing, not vindictive offenders. The only claim it makes is a modest and powerful one, that batterers will be strictly held to the requirements of the program and will be promptly returned to court if they "fail."
Like the program, the website is completely transparent: with a respect for its audience that is extremely rare, it lays out every aspect of its program, from the learning process that led to its creation to the exact methods used to monitor compliance and report failures. Whether or not respect for the law will extend to respect for a partner at home is not the program's concern, but the community's. As the website also makes wonderfully clear, this program is an integral part of a large process of community organizing, education and change.
– Evan Stark, Phd, MSW
Evan is a founder of one of the nation's first shelters, an award winning researcher, and a forensic social worker who has testified in over l00 criminal and civil trails on behalf abused women and their children. He teaches at Rutgers University and the UMDNJ School of Public Health and is the author, most recently, of Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007)
I have often quoted from conversations with Phyllis Frank in my attempts to educate more clearly about the realities of racial and gender hierarchies. How wonderful that her thoughts on batterer programs, continually honed over 28 years, are now available to all. The coherence, breadth, and depth of commentary organized in this website makes it unusually fine. This model is not just one opinion from which to pick and choose policy, but is the cutting edge of vision in a confounding field that ignores, qualifies, or patronizes at peril to abused women.
– Jack C. Straton, Ph.D.
Coordinator of the Task Group on Child Custody Issues
for the National Organization of Men Against Sexism (NOMAS); Asst. Professor, Portland State University
I think [this site] is excellent on content and very easy to use. Right in the face of nonsense, and I'm sure threatening as hell to most batterer's work people – How refreshing for a group to be doing this work and telling the truth.
– Lydia Walker
Nationally recognized speaker, trainer, consultant &
author Reaching Rural Battered Women; contributing
author Then We Went to A Safe Place and Naming the Violence
This is an absolutely extraordinary program, with some of the most radical, important, provocative, truthful, and in my opinion, correct thinking about the purpose and limits of batterer programs. Not just for NYS programs, this is a program with a perspective deserving of national attention. Valuable for advocates, prosecutors, judges and anyone working with men who batter.
– Irene Weiser
Executive Director, StopFamilyViolence.org