Abusers and Abuser Treatment Programs

Domestic abusers (those who exhibit a pattern of coercive, intimidating, violent, or cruel behavior in order control family members) need help from professionals specially trained to deal with domestic violence. Wanting or promising to stop is not enough.  

There are many theories used to explain why abusers abuse.  Most abusers grew up in abusive homes.   They witnessed, or were direct victims of, domestic violence.  Such childhood trauma can affect such people later in life.  Some experts say that abuse is a learned behavior and can be unlearned.  The Bible indicates that it can also be a spiritual problem (Malachi 2:13,14,16; 1 Samuel 18:10-11 and 1 Samuel 19:9-10; Matthew 19:8).

Washington State regulates programs and individuals that offer treatment to perpetrators of domestic violence.  (This regulation, WAC 388-60, can be found at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=388-60)  A list of certified treatment providers is available on the internet. Outside the State of Washington, you can ask about treatment programs by contacting your local domestic violence program or by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-562-6025.  

Abuser treatment programs are not the same as anger management training. Abuser treatment should also include such issues as attitudes toward women and violence, control and manipulation, understanding the dynamics of domestic violence, and more.  State certified programs require the abuser to acknowledge all types of abusive behaviors thy have engaged in and to develop a "responsibility plan".  Such programs must involve at least 6 months of group meetings or active counseling and another 6 months of periodic follow-up. 

Information on success rates of treatment programs    

Questions frequently asked about abusers and treatment  

Current list of certified programs in Washington state  

Warning signs of an abusive personality