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Effective Practices for Managing Domestic Violence and Addiction Drug Treatment Conference


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Title: Effective Practices for Managing Domestic Violence and Addiction Drug Treatment Conference

Effective Practices for Managing Domestic
Violence and Addiction Drug Treatment
ConferenceEvidence-Based Practice Made
PracticalAugust 31th, 2010Presenter Bea
  • To increase the personal, familial, and societal
    accountability of adult and juvenile offenders
    and defendants and respondents in juvenile
    petitions for abuse, neglect, or both and
  • To promote effective interaction and use of
    resources among criminal and juvenile justice
    personnel, child protective services personnel,
    and community agencies.

  • To reduce alcoholism and other drug dependencies
    among adult and juvenile offenders and defendants
    and among respondents in juvenile petitions for
    abuse, neglect, or both
  • To reduce criminal and delinquent recidivism and
    the incidence of child abuse and neglect
  • To reduce the alcohol-related and other
    drug-related court workload

Why this is important to you
  • Often, the folks you see in court are also DV
  • Making the right referral
  • Protecting victims
  • Not protecting abusers- holding them accountable

Some basics
  • Nationwide, in 50 of all domestic violence
    murders, the killer had used alcohol before the
  • So far this year in North Carolina, there have
    been at least 45 murders related to domestic
    violence. Not enough evidence unclear
    relationship unsolved murder body not
    discovered murders last couple days

  • That means of course, theres a likelihood that
    22 of these people were murdered by someone who
    was drunk. (but probably not solely high on
    other substances)
  • 12/43 were male victims. 4 of those were men
    killed by women.
  • 4 were people attempting to defend victims. 1 was
    a same-sex partner.
  • 5/43 were children.
  • That leaves us with 28/43 were women
    girlfriends wives ex-girlfriends ex-wives.

  • Many of these folks have been involved with our
    systems our services, prior to the murders.
  • Someone had an opportunity to recognize, address,
    refer, protect, hold accountable, treat,
    incarcerate, house, support and advocate.
  • This does not mean that we are responsible for
    the murders. We are responsible for making DV
    unacceptable in North Carolina.

  • DV communitys domestic violence definition a
    pattern of coercive, controlling or abusive
    behaviors toward an intimate partner/former
    partner. Note that only the violent behavior or
    threats violate laws.
  • NC law- defines it as a physical act of abuse or
    threats toward family or household members or
    former household members
  • Today, were talking about the first definition

Gender bias?
  • In a 1995-1996 study conducted in the 50 States
    and the District of Columbia, 7.6 of men were
    raped and/or physically assaulted by a current or
    former spouse, cohabiting partner, or dating
    partner/acquaintance at some time in their
    lifetime (ABA, 2000).
  • (based on survey sample of 16,000 participants,
    equally male and female)
  • Intimate partners committed 3 of the nonfatal
    violence against men (Tjaden Theonnes, 2003).
  • One in 33 men have been the victim of an
    attempted or completed rape by an intimate
    partner (Theonnes Tjaden, 2000).

  • Our DV teams at the CMC network report that over
    the last quarter, 98 of DV-related injuries they
    saw were inflicted by male partners on women.
  • Caution male victims are less likely to report
    less likely to seek services.

The Missing Statistic
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What DV isnt
  • A fight
  • A lovers quarrel
  • An argument
  • A dispute
  • An incident
  • Isolated
  • First time

9-1-1 call Did you have a good time?
When the victim is in Drug Court
  • Up to 80 of battered women who seek safety at a
    shelter are drug/alcohol abusing or dependent.
    (She) may or may not have been that way when she
    met her abuser. Either way, her addiction makes
    her much more vulnerable.
  • Her D/A issues are going to be a lot more obvious
    to you in court and you may be tempted to address
    that problem first.
  • She may appear more out-of-control- may be a hot
  • She has to be safe before she can be sober.

When the abuser is your client
  • If you dont know, you may unwittingly be
    protecting him and re-victimizing her.
  • He may use his addiction/alcoholism as an excuse.
  • He may use her addiction as an excuse.
  • He may clean up a whole lot better than she
    does may present better in court. He could just
    be a really good obfuscator.

  • She may buy that shes the problem and may try to
    convince the court of that. She may make him look
    good, thinking he has a better chance of
    convincing you that hes okay- because shes the
    problem. She may be completely dependent on him
    and therefore truly believe a number of things
    that hes not abusive that hes her rescuer
    hes a good parent, etc. She needs to believe
    those things.

Why are victims with addictions at higher risk?
  • Abusers who seek/build vulnerable women. Some do
    it for the challenge others are needy.
  • What factors make her more vulnerable?
  • DSS involvement

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  • AND

Similar Characteristics Between Substance Abuse
and Domestic Violence
  • Isolation of the family
  • Causes a lot of pain
  • Mental, Emotional, Physical, Verbal, Sexual,
  • effects
  • Lowers self-esteem negatively affects sense of
  • Isolation of the family
  • Causes a lot of pain
  • Mental, Emotional, Physical, Verbal, Sexual,
  • effects
  • Lowers self-esteem negatively affects sense of

Similar Characteristics Between Substance Abuse
and Domestic Violence contd
  • Failed attempts to stop using
  • Intergenerational cycle
  • Genetic
  • Deny, minimize problem
  • Progressive
  • Relapse
  • Can be fatal
  • Failed attempts to stop violence or leave
  • Intergenerational cycle
  • Learned behavior
  • Deny, minimize problem
  • Progressive
  • Return to abusive relationship
  • Can be fatal

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So, what does it look like, when alcohol
anddomestic violence come together?WARNING-
Look away if youre queasy
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  • When a batterer says, the alcohol made me do it
    hes blaming one problem violence, on another
    alcohol abuse.

  • In characterizing substance abuse and domestic
    violence, practitioners have observed that the
    two problems are separate but similar, and they
    each interact and exacerbate each other. For,
    example, both problems are passed on from
    generation to generation both involve denial,
    with substance abusers

  • and batterers blaming victims for their behavior
    usually, neither problem decreases until a crisis
    occurs and secrecy is often the rule, with
    victims of abuse (wrongly) blaming themselves for
    their partners substance abuse or violent
    behavior (Engelmann, 1992, p.6).

  • Intoxication appears to increase the likelihood
    that a batterer may misinterpret or distort a
    partners remarks, demeanor, or actions by
    blunting whatever cognitive regulators the
    abuser possesses (Stosny, 1995, p. 36)

Alcohol, drugs, and violence
  • Alcohol is the substance most frequently
    implicated in homicide and in other violent
    events as well.
  • Evidence of an individual level association
    between alcohol and violence is widespread.
  • - The consumption of alcohol increases the
    aggressiveness of the response to cues.

Alcohol, drugs, and violence
  • Alcoholic women are more likely to report a
    history of childhood physical and emotional abuse
    than are non-alcoholic women.
  • Women in recovery are likely to have a history of
    violent trauma and are at high risk of being
    diagnosed with PTSD.

Relationship Between Alcohol Abuse and Woman
Abuse contd
  • If alcohol worked exclusively as a disinhibiting
    agent, there would be no domestic violence when
    sober. Although there is less violence when
    sober, substance and alcohol abusers are more
    likely to engage in domestic violence than are

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The Victim
  • Substance abuse by one parent increases the
    likelihood that the substance-abusing parent will
    be unable to protect children if the other parent
    is violent.
  • Substance -abusing women often report that their
    abusive partners become angry or threatened when
    they seek help.
  • The mans violence or threats of violence may
    push the woman to drop out of treatment.

The Perpetrator
  • Some batterers are less violent and easier to
    handle when they are drunk or high.
  • If a batterer is more violent when sober or
    abstinent, his partner may encourage drinking or
    taking drugs.
  • Victims can blame themselves for their partners
    substance abuse I made them do it is an
    enabling ideology.
  • Surviving isnt enabling.

Substance abuse and domestic violence contd
  • Alcohol and drugs do not cause family violence-
    they merely make abusers less likely to control
    their violent tendencies.
  • Abusers who blame their violence on drinking or
    drugs are not taking responsibility for their
  • Abusers with substance abuse problems must
    address both issues. Treatment of one will not
    treat the other.
  • Violent abusers who abuse substances are more
    likely to inflict serious injury and to commit
    sexual violence.

Relationship between alcohol and violence contd
  • (For) men incarcerated for a violent offense
    chronic alcohol patterns had little predictive
    value, but that acute episodes of drinking
    immediately before the offense were significant.
  • Significantly higher MAST (Michigan alcoholism
    screening test) scores for the abusive men

Possible Reasons
  • That Alcohol/Substance
  • Abuse Can Facilitate
  • Woman Abuse

as an excuse
  • Time-out from responsibility and a means to
    disavow the resulting behavior.
  • Batterers use substances first as a vehicle, then
    as an excuse, for being controlling and violent.

as a cognitive disrupter
  • Drugs or alcohol may reduce the users ability to
    perceive, integrate, and process information.
  • This increases the risk of violence.
  • Substance-induced cognitive distortion is one
    factor that increases the risk the user will
    interpret his partners behavior as arbitrary,
    aggressive, abandoning, or overwhelming.
  • Substances may make batterers be more likely than
    non-batterers to misinterpret the actions of
    their partners.

as a power motive
  • Both substance abuse and woman abuse may share
    common origins in a need to achieve personal
    power and control.
  • While small quantities of a substance tend to
    increase a social users sense of altruistic
    power, larger quantities for social users - or
    any amount for an abuser- increases the users
    sense of personal power and domination over
  • This power-using relationship is more
    characteristic of men than women.

as a situational variable
  • Situational variables
  • Violence can occur as part of the situations
    associated with obtaining and using substances.
    (Lifestyle of an addict)
  • A battered woman may use substances as a means of
    attempting to manage the batters violence and a
    means of increasing her own safety.

Barriers to treatment for our clients
  • Threats of physical harm, withholding of
    financial support, or abuse directed toward
    children can lead survivors to resort to using
    substances (or relapsing) to buffer their
  • A victims becoming clean or sober can threaten
    the batterers sense of control, increasing the
    likelihood of an instance of domestic violence.
    (Upping the ante)

Language can be a barrier...
  • Domestic violence programs may speak of
    empowerment, moving forward, building a new life.
  • Substance abuse treatment may speak of denial,
    enabling, codependency, and powerlessness.
  • Some domestic violence workers are not well
    educated in the field of substance abuse and have
    inaccurate understanding of the nature of
    treatment. They may seem overly protective of
    their clients, to the point of being
    non-cooperative. Assure them that you have the
    same goals- foremost, safety for the victim.

Different goals...
  • For treatment programs, abstinence is the goal.
  • For domestic violence programs, safety is the
  • It is not a matter of choosing one goal over the
    other- both are important. It is a matter of
    timing the interventions to yield the greatest

Screening potential victims
  • See DVAC Screening Guide
  • Never talk to the couple together
  • Dont reveal what the victim says without written
    his/her permission

  • Has your partner ever attempted to control,
    intimidate, or scare you? If
  • client answers yes, ask the following questions
  • Have you ever been stalked by a partner or
    ex-partner? (following you or keeping track of
    your activities, causing you to feel intimidated
    or concerned for your safety) How long did it go

3. In what ways, if any, has a partner (or ex)
ever physically hurt you? (slapped, punched,
shoved, choked, threatened with weapons, or
otherwise hurt you) How long did it continue?
4. In what ways, if any, has a partner (or ex)
ever forced you to have sex or perform sexual
acts in such a way that caused you either
distress, harm, fear, or humiliation? How long
did it continue? 5. In what ways, if any, has a
partner (or ex) ever verbally abused you? (called
you names, humiliated you in public, screamed at
you, blamed you for everything, lied, made empty
promises, etc.) How long did it continue?
  • 6. In what ways, if any, has a partner (or ex)
    ever psychologically abused or terrorized
  • you? (For example, kept you from seeing
    family/friends, threatened to hurt or kill you
  • or loved ones, controlled your life, interrogated
    you, controlled money, destroyed your
  • belongings, accused you of having affairs,
    smashed things, kept you up at night,
  • punched walls, had affairs, or caused you to lose
    a job)

7. In what ways, if any, has a partner prevented
you from seeking support? (insisting on taking
you to your appointments, speaking for you,
answering doctors, counselors, pastors for you,
keeping the car from you)
Screening possible abusers
  • Dont be fooled. The abuser may be the most
    together, likeable, well-functioning of the
  • Dont make assumptions based on past arrests.
    Victims are often arrested, charged and
    prosecuted as abusers. But, if there are multiple
    charges and multiple victims (RED FLAG), well, if
    it walks like a duck
  • Multiple areas of criminal involvement- also
    another sign.
  • The victim may present as the abuser.

  • The easiest way to tell who the abuser is
  • Also Who makes the decisions? Who makes excuses
    for the other? Contrary to what batterers will
    say, victims are almost always reluctant to blame
    their partner.

Making referrals for the victim
  • Help the client establish a relationship with a
    domestic violence program. Do not hesitate to
    make referrals.
  • If a client denies a history of domestic
    violence but the counselor believes that it is
    possible, additional discussion with the client
    might be necessary.
  • If she delays or refuses Create a safety plan.
    These are available online or through your
  • Give her area resources.
  • Remember forcing a victim to do anything means
    treating her the same way her abuser does.
    (Though I do understand how frustrating this is)

Psychosocial issues for the victim
  • Shift focus and responsibility to the abuser for
    the abuse.
  • She is responsible for her only her behavior.
  • Maintain responsibility for the substance or
    alcohol abuse.
  • Enhance problem-solving and decision-making

  • For the Abuser

Entering treatment is a crisis for the abuser
that itself enhances the likelihood of violence.
  • No-violence contract.
  • Fostering accountability and personal
  • No excuses will be accepted!
  • Facilitate communication between providers.

Making referrals, continued
  • Both problems, DV and substance abuse, should be
    addressed at the same time, once the client is in
    outpatient services. Ask your local service
    providers if this is possible. Best-case scenario
    would be if all service providers worked
  • Time and expense of both programs may be an
    issue. Most BIPs do not have funding and cannot
    accept insurance as these programs are not
    allowed to function as clinical programs.
  • Select a state-approved batterer intervention
    program, or abuser treatment program (google NC
    abuser treatment programs for list of programs
    at Council for Women). Report violations of state
    Rules to same agency.

What else can I do?
  • Belong and actively participate in local efforts
    to eradicate domestic violence. Many communities
    have CCRs-coordinated community response teams
    on which your input and expertise would be
  • Bring training events to your community.
    Participate in awareness efforts. Check with CCRs
    or your shelter for upcoming events.
  • Form collaborative partnerships with providers
    and Child Protective Services.
  • Find out what your community resources are. Have
    a list on hand.

  • Be able to answer what happens with a same-sex
    couple? What are the resources? What about a male
    victim- what are the counseling and shelter
  • Does my community shelter pets for victims? What
    if she wont go to inpatient treatment- could a
    reason be that she fears for her pets safety?
  • Does the victim feel she may lose custody of her
    kids if she acknowledges DV?

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