Best Practices for Batterers' Intervention Programs
last updated October 17, 2008

Experts on BIPs have made a number of best practice recommendations for program improvement and court action to improve the consistency of system response and to increase batterer accountability: 

  • If BIPs are to be utilized, courts should send batterers to BIPs as quickly as possible, and should require them to check in with the court on a regular basis to ensure their compliance with the court order.
  • A BIP should be more intense in frequency and content in the first few weeks, so that the batterer is educated, supervised and monitored for noncompliance during the time of greatest need and motivation.
  • Contact with batterers should include a systematic monitoring of their behavior and compliance so that new interventions could be developed in accordance with their needs.  New treatment alternatives should be developed, such as halfway houses or mentoring programs.
  • Screening for severe alcohol and psychological problems should take place immediately.  Treatment should occur outside the BIP.
  • BIPs should perform regular lethality assessments.
  • BIPs should have clear, written policies on what will happen if the batterer commits new offenses, misses a BIP meeting, or BIP staff believe that he is going to harm a current or past partner in some way.
  • A BIP should never advocate for a participant, except to help them to seek other services they might need such as substance abuse or employment assistance
  • Contact with victims should be systematic and comprehensive. A BIP should give the victim a checklist which will help her to assess the batterer’s changing behavior. She should be encouraged to call the BIP if she has questions or concerns.  
  • The person who is contacting the partner of a batterer should be a trained battered women’s advocate.
  • When a batterer completes a BIP or is terminated from a BIP, the victim should be provided with a written record of the abusive behaviors which the batterer admitted during the BIP.  This may prove important to her in future court actions, such as custody, visitation, or another protective order. Batterers should not be told that information will be kept confidential.
  • BIPs worldwide should make efforts to become more culturally compatible to diverse offenders, including same-sex BIPs. 
  • BIPs should cooperate with state agencies supporting and protecting the child.
  • Child abuse prevention must be addressed, as well as the effect of abuse upon child witnesses.
  • Procedures must be established for regular inspection and monitoring of BIPs


Compiled from

  • Bennett, L., and Williams, O., Controversies and Recent Studies of Batterer Intervention Effectiveness, August 2001, http://www.vanet.org.
  • Sullivan, Cris M., and Adams, Adrienne E., “A National Review of Outcomes and Indicators Used to Evaluate Domestic Violence Programs,” prepared for United Way of Greater Milwaukee, February 2007
  • Gondolf, Edward W., Batterer Intervention Systems: Issued, Outcomes and Recommendations, Thousand Oaks:  Sage Publications, 2003
  • Bennett, Larry, and Williams, Oliver, “Controversies and Recent Studies of Batterer Intervention Program Effectiveness” at www.vanet.org;
  • “Does Batterer Intervention Work?” by the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services