Nationally, nearly 10% of homicides are committed by an intimate partner (spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend), according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data from 2012, the most recent year available. In many homicides,the relationship between the victim and attacker are unknown, meaning the number of intimate partner murders could be higher.
Of the homicides known to be committed by an intimate partner, 80% of the victims are women.
One-third of all women in the world will at some point in their lives endure an abusive relationship.
Domestic violence has become a top issue for the NFL recently, with the league promising greater education and stricter policies. For the record, the rate of abuse in the NFL is less than the national average
The goal of these education programs sponsored by the NFL is not to keep a couple together. Rather, it’s to make batterers understand the dynamics of power and control and to change their behavior.
Batterer intervention often takes a cognitive behavioral approach, but it’s not the same thing as therapy. Experts say couples therapy is not appropriate because the victim will be afraid to say anything in front of the abuser.
One-on-one sessions may become a “therapeutic relationship,” said Susan Cayouette, co-executive director of Emerge. Although psychological issues may be involved, domestic violence itself “is not a psychological problem,” Cayouette said. “It’s a problem about behavior, and we’re trying to get them to do a behavior change.”
A 2004 study of programs in four cities found the majority of men who participate in batterer intervention programs do not physically assault their partners years later. After 30 months, 80% of men did not assault their current partner in the past year. After 40 months, 90% did not, according to the study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings were based on interviews every three months with the men in the programs and with both their initial partners and their current partners. The study also found that men who participated in a batterer intervention program for at least three months were 50% less likely to re-assault their partner, compared with someone who entered a program and then dropped out.
But the lack of physical violence alone does not tell the full picture of what has “worked.” The legal system measures success as cutting down on re-arrests. The domestic violence community measures success as a change in behavior, a much trickier type of measurement.
“The point underneath this attention to violence is an undertow of controlling behavior,” Gondolf said.