Jason S. Miyares
Attorney General of Virginia

Domestic Violence - Batterer Intervention Programs

Why Does Someone Use Violence in a Relationship?

People use violence to exert power and control over another person. They might have learned such behavior through the violence they witnessed in their families. This is one reason why family violence tends to continue from one generation to the next.

If you use violence in your relationship, or if you know someone who does, consider contacting a Certified Batterer Intervention Program for assistance. Batterer intervention programs are designed to help people change their abusive behavior. A court may order offenders to a batterer intervention program as a term of probation under Va. Code ยง 18.2-57.3.

Goals of Batterer Intervention Programs Include the Following:

  • Stop the violence and prevent the reoccurrence of future violence, while ensuring victim safety.

  • Identify abusive behaviors.

  • Teach alternatives to violence.

  • Explore the impact of violent and abusive behavior on intimate partners, children, and others.

  • Assist individuals in examining the beliefs they hold about violence.

Under the Virginia Standards for Batterer Intervention Programs:

  • Everyone who completes a Certified Batterer Intervention Program receives a minimum of 36 hours of group services over 18 weeks.

  • If referred to a Certified Batterer Intervention Program, individuals are assessed for drug/alcohol dependency and severe mental health issues. Referrals are made to treatment if necessary.

  • Certified Batterer Intervention Programs can help to ensure that victims are offered services, informed about the Batterer Intervention services, and are notified if the individual leaves or completes the Program.

  • Certified Batterer Intervention Programs charge a fee, but they provide services to indigent clients.

  • Staff of Certified Batterer Intervention Programs must have 32 hours of initial domestic violence training, in addition to 12 hours of annual continuing education.

For more information on certified batterer intervention programs in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Batterer Intervention Program Certification Board at www.vabipboard.org