Moving Beyond Accountability for Those Who Batter
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2018 01:23
- Written by Steve Halley
If you have worked within the movement to end domestic violence for any length of time, you have heard the mantra, “Victim safety and batterer accountability”. This mantra sums up the focus of the fight to end gender-based violence. The proliferation of battering intervention programs was one of multiple ways the system has worked to establish “batterer accountability." While accountability is a critical element for getting those who batter into our doors, and to keep them there, it is an unfortunate shortcoming for facilitators to rely on accountability as the primary focus of the intervention. It often requires much more to be effective.
I admit that early on in my career, I thought accountability was the answer in working with those who batter. I wanted them to take complete responsibility for ALL their abusive behavior, and they were going to recognize the impact that their behavior had on their partner and children...whether they wanted to or not. I saw myself as protecting women by holding participants of my program to a high bar, and I would be satisfied with nothing less. I was going to get these men to change, as there was simply too much at stake to not.