Research Report A New Nonmandated Program for People Who Cause Intimate Partner Violence
Findings from an Implementation Assessment in New York City
Storm Ervin, Susan Nembhard, Claudia Nmai
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In 2020, the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, the New York City Human Resources Administration, and the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence funded the Urban Institute to conduct an implementation assessment of the Respect and Responsibility (R&R) demonstration project, a free nonmandated program for people who cause intimate partner violence (IPV). The majority of intervention programs for people who cause IPV—batterer intervention programs, also called abusive partner intervention programs—are court-mandated and for people who are in the criminal legal system as a result. The challenge with mandating IPV intervention programs for harm doers is that IPV needs to be reported to law enforcement in order for a court mandate to occur and, often, IPV goes unreported. To date, the Respect and Responsibility demonstration project is the first program in New York City to operate as a nonmandated intervention program for those who have caused harm or are causing harm in their intimate relationships.

What we found

The R&R program includes weekly group sessions, individualized participant assessments and case management, and counseling. It is delivered by three program providers: Urban Resource Institute, STEPS to End Family Violence at Rising Ground, and the RISE Project at the Center for Justice Innovation. The R&R group session curriculum was developed by these three providers and MindOpen Learning Strategies and uses a voluntary model, meaning providers are given the option to select a curriculum topic of their choosing for each session or not use the curriculum at all.

Urban conducted its implementation assessment between March 2022 and October 2023 and found that across the three organizations, program providers served 129 participants; delivered 172 closed group sessions, 27 open group sessions, and 6 introductory sessions; held mostly virtual sessions; and used the curriculum in 87 percent of group sessions. Data analysis revealed that the program was received well by stakeholders and participants. Though the three providers implemented the program differently in some aspects, they all used the R&R curriculum, offered counseling sessions, and served mostly young men of color. The program staff relied on peer-led discussions, circles, reflections, and innovative activities to engage with participants. During focus groups and one interview, Urban only spoke to around 9 percent of the total participants, but they overwhelmingly gave positive feedback on the program. Major implementation challenges included lower-than-expected enrollment, the need for more outreach to potential participants, better clarity regarding facilitator roles, and some accessibility issues with language. Overall, findings from this implementation assessment indicate that the Respect and Responsibility demonstration project holds promise and should be further evaluated to determine its impact on all anticipated outcomes.

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Tags Intimate partner violence Alternatives to incarceration
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center
States New York
Cities New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA