Decreasing Family Violence and Recidivism For African American Men


  • Intervention: recruitment, training, and retention of African American batterers intervention professionals and training for others to increase cultural competence
  • Prevention/Early Intervention: Creation of batterers intervention ‘peer mentors’ who are African American men and others that have successfully completed programs and remain abuse free. Peer Mentors who support men in batterers intervention and help encourage a culture of non-violence.
  • Prevention: Public presentations in middle and high schools, churches, and other venues to encourage awareness about domestic violence prevention that focuses on men of color promoting peace in their homes and communities.

Adaptation to meet the needs of population of focus:

  • Recruitment of African Americans work with current batterers intervention programs and to complete new programs that specifically address the needs of this population.
  • Creation of peer mentors who are African American men that have successfully completed batterers intervention and remain successfully abuse free to offer genuine and support and experience to current clients facing challenges.
  • Preventative outreach to families through institutions serving African American’s. Prevention includes interpersonal communication and problem solving, local resources for domestic violence help, pro-social supports, and aspects of parenting and a healthy relationships.

Population of focus: Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino

Setting: Community health center, Community center, Faith-based organization, Mental health clinic, Schools

Level of focus: Individual, community

Background: Disproportionate amount of African American men are incarcerated for domestic violence or partner abuse (Healy, Smith & O’Sullivan, 1998, p.63) Domestic violence requires mandatory incarceration, sentencing, and batterers intervention after release.

African American men also have the highest rates of dropping out of batterers intervention that leads to non-compliance and rearrests as well as recidivism related to re-offending. Research has found non-culturally relevant batterers intervention services increase the likelihood that African American men will not engage and drop out prematurely (Gondolf, 2007).

Currently Batterers Intervention Programs focus on a mans choice to abuse and require men to be accountable for their part in patriarchal dominant society that makes partner abuse and/or family violence an option for men to take power and control over their partners. This approach to batterers intervention is not effective for African American men who have the highest rates dropping out of batterers intervention, as well as of re-incarceration due to non-compliance and re-offense. This also places partner and their children at risk, and lends to the destruction of African American families. Research indicates African American men are most likely to stage engaged in batterers intervention when curriculum is culturally relevant to their needs (Murphy Healy & Smith, 1998).

Issues addressed: African American men need prevention and intervention services that are culturally relevant in order to remain abuse free and decrease potential for recidivism (Silvergleid & Mankowski, 2006). It can also be said that families need prevention to avoid these issues, as well as culturally relevant intervention to increase the likelihood that families can heal and recover. Without adequate prevention and culturally relevant intervention, families will destabilize.


Steffannie Roache
Executive Director
Miriam Group Inc.
(503) 836-5086