Methods: Pretest-posttest, randomized controlled field trial to assess the effect of a traditional Batterer Intervention Program (BIP-only) mandated by the court for misdemeanor DV crimes (18 weeks) against a court-mandated BIP (12 weeks) plus a restorative justice program (CP) (6 weeks) (BIP plus CP), using a 24-month follow up period on arrest counts as well as severity scores (N=222). Poisson regression models were used to estimate the treatment effect, along with Cohen’s d as a measure of the magnitude of the intervention, compared to control conditions.
Results: The BIP plus CP intervention resulted in a 53% and 52% reduction in chance of new arrests and severity, respectively [(Exp(b)=.470, 95% CI .312, .707); (Exp(b)=.480, 95% CI .385, .600)], within 24 months post-random assignment. For both measures, the magnitude of the difference ranges between a medium effect size for the count-based model (d=-.493, 95% CI -.763, -0.244), to a large effect size for the harm-based model (d=-.859, 95% CI -1.137, -.582).
Conclusions and Implications: A court-mandated hybrid restorative justice intervention (BIP plus CP) is more effective than a BIP-only approach and can better address the range of DV cases mandated to treatment. Issues with implementation associated with lack of victim participation in treatment with their offender mask a potentially more efficient overall intervention, which future research needs to address more robustly. At the very least, the experiment shows that restorative justice is a viable treatment in what historically has been considered an inappropriate forum for a restorative justice approach.