I recently completed training to become certified as a Domestic Violence Specialist (CDVS-1) through the National Anger Management Association (NAMA), the folks through whom I received my certification as an Anger Management Specialist (CAMS-1).
This comprehensive two-day experience provided among other important pieces of information, an opportunity for participants to reconsider and revise their notions of just who are the victims and who are the perpetrators of Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
According to Ron Potter-Effron based on research by Hamel, although many people believe that it is men who commit acts of Domestic Violence and it is the women who are the victims, the truth of the matter is that a batter can be male or female. “The causes of partner abuse are varied but similar across genders” and not surprisingly, “much partner abuse is mutual.” (NAMA Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Training, 2014).
This complex phenomenon is rooted in societal attitudes towards women as well as multi-determined psychological and emotional factors. There is a profile of the typical batterer as someone who has attachment issues, low-self esteem and also has co-morbid conditions such as substance abuse and mental illness. A family history of violence and abuse is frequently a factor.
I also took away from the training a feeling of dismay about the politicized environment in which services are provided for both perpetrators and victims (including children). Consequently, there is very little evidence based treatment and very little change in the way things are done despite high rates of recidivism and treatment failures.
As I explore options and opportunities to make a contribution to the field of treatment and prevention, I intend to bring to bear not only my recent training in the field but also the experience and training I have as a Psychotherapist. I also believe that a spiritual component to treatment and healing is essential and will incorporate that in any future work I do.
Both the bad news and the good news is that there’s a lot of work out there. I hope and expect that I will be quite busy.