Using Women's Perceptions to Predict Reassault Among Batterer Program Participants

Alex Heckert, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Edward W. Gondolf, Mid - Atlantic Addiction Training Inst.

There have been increasing efforts to predict reassault among batterers who attend batterer programs. Risk markers include substance use, previous criminality, severe personality disorders, and program dropout. One study found women's perceptions of safety helped predict reassault. Risk assessment inventories have shown modest predictive ability. Previous research, however, has used small databases with limited follow-up and a dichotomous outcome of reassault. We use multinomial logistic regression to explore whether women's perceptions of the likelihood of reassaults and their perceptions of safety are predictive of multiple outcomes (no abuse, emotional abuse, threats, one-time physical reassault, and repeat reassault) over 15 months. The data are drawn from a multi-site evaluation of four batterer programs. The analysis is based on approximately 500 cases drawn from 840 men and 688 female partners recruited at program intake. Our findings confirm that women's perceptions, measured soon after intake, are modest predictors of reassault, including repeat reassault. In fact, women's perceptions alone were more predictive of repeat reassault than simulated versions of two popular risk assessment instruments. Future prediction of reassault by batterer program participants may be improved by incorporating women's perceptions into risk assessment instruments.

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Updated 05/20/2006