Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges
Published June 2009
Chapter 8. Intervention Programs
Section 9 — When are noncompliant abusers likely to drop out of batterer intervention programs?
Several studies have found that batterers who do not complete batterer intervention programs are likely to be noncompliant from the start. Furthermore, these studies found that noncompliance at the first court monitoring predicted both program failure and recidivism. In the Brooklyn study, the strongest predictor of program failure was early noncompliance. Defendants who had not enrolled in a program by the time of their first compliance hearing were significantly less likely to complete the program than those enrolled by the first hearing.  These findings are similar to those found in the Bronx study. Defendants who were not in compliance at their first monitoring appearance were six times more likely to fail to complete the program than those in compliance at that time. 
These findings are consistent with extensive research indicating that the largest proportion of court-identified abusers who reabuse are likely to reabuse sooner rather than later. (See question, "When are abusers likely to reabuse?")
Implications for Prosecutors and Judges
To safeguard victims and/or new partners, prosecutors and courts should respond immediately to an abuser's first failure to enroll in or attend a court-mandated batterer intervention program. (Research basis: Although most studies do not report when noncompliant abusers failed their programs, the consistent findings among abusers referred to multiple programs, utilized by two different courts in New York, strongly support their findings.)