Family Services of Seattle tries to change the mind-set behind the violent behavior in dhomestic strife situations. The program centers on education, not therapy. Its curriculum combines teachings from an abuser-education program based in Boston, and one created by the city of Duluth, Minn., the Seattle Times reports. Duluth officials interviewed female victims to construct a “Power and Control” wheel that highlights a range of abusive male behaviors.
A court or state agency refers most men to Family Services’ classes, which are held weekly and limited to 12, with men rotating in and out. Group discussions, homework, and role playing teach the men to be accountable for their violence and to empathize with their partners. One exercise is a videotaped re-enactment of the violence. One man plays the “victim,” and the feelings and behaviors of both abuser and victim then are discussed as a group. Family Services says that 40 of 49 men “stayed the course” over the previous year and demonstrated change. The numbers might seem low, but this kind of program is just one tool and shouldn’t be seen as a panacea, said Leigh Hofheimer of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.