Monday, December 7, 2009

Anger Management vs. BIP

We've often talked about the Batterer's Intervention Program (BIP) as being the appropriate counseling for perpetrators of domestic violence and that an Anger Management class is not recommended. The following information from the November 2009 Office of the State Courts Administrator highlights the differences between the two programs. For more info, click here.

Experts in the field of domestic violence have long considered BIPs to be best equipped to handle the needs of batterers. Anger management programs are sometimes utilized in place of BIP. While excellent at what they are designed to do, anger management programs do not generally meet the needs of most batterers. The following chart was provided by Department of Children and Families (DCF) as a helpful reminder of the differences between anger management and BIP.

Anger Management (AM) vs. Certified Batterer Intervention Program (BIP)

Are programs state certified?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. Certification is granted by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Domestic Violence Program Office.

Who is served by the programs?
AM: Perpetrators of stranger or non-intimate violence
BIP: Specifically designed to work with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

How long are the programs?
AM: Usually 6-20 sessions, with an average program lasting 10 sessions (Typically Orange & Seminole courts order an 8-hr anger management class). 
BIP: Mandated by Florida Statute at 29 weeks which includes a minimum of 24 sessions, assessment, intake/enrollment and orientation.

Do programs contact victims?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. By letter when the batterer enrolls and is discharged from the program. If the offender makes known threats toward the victim, the program will contact the victim and the proper authorities. The victim is provided with local referral information.

Are programs monitored by a state agency?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. By the Department of Children & Families, Domestic Violence Program Office.

Are programs linked with a battered women's agency?
AM: No
BIP: Not directly. Letters to victims contain contact information for local certified domestic violence centers. Certified batterers programs are encouraged to establish relationships with their local certified centers and many have fostered that relationship.

Do programs assess batterers for lethality?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. While not a prediction model, certified assessors conduct an assessment which includes questions which reveal how potentially lethal a batterer may be - such as if he owns a gun, has a history of intimate partner violence or has been convicted of other violent offenses.

What is the emphasis of the intervention?
AM: Violence is seen as a momentary outburst of anger.
BIP: Physical violence is seen as one of many forms of abusive behaviors chosen by batterers to control their intimate partners. Other behaviors include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. Batterer intervention models hold batterers accountable for the violent and abusive choices they make. They teach batterers to recognize how their abuse affects their partners and children and to practice alternatives to abusive behaviors.

Are group facilitators trained about domestic violence?
AM: Subject to agency discretion
BIP: Yes. State standards require that facilitators receive an initial 21 hours of state approved basic facilitator training, 8 hours of substance abuse as it relates to domestic violence, 4 hours of attendance at domestic violence court hearings, 40 hours of victim centered training and 84 hours of co-facilitating with a certified program (may not be completed in less than six months). Twelve CEU's in DV/batterer intervention are required annually thereafter.

How would I address grievances with this type of program?
AM: Talk to the director of the program
BIP: First, talk to the director of the program and second, notify the DCF, Office of Domestic Violence Programs, (850) 921-2168.

For more info, see What Batterer Programs Can & Cannot Demonstrably Do


  1. Thanks Laura, This was great information as many of us assumed it was the same thing.

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