Abstract: Service Providers and Their Perceptions of Treatment Policy and Practice of Male Batterers in Israel (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Service Providers and Their Perceptions of Treatment Policy and Practice of Male Batterers in Israel

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 10:45 AM
Union Square 22 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Rachel Dekel, PhD, Full Professor, Bar Ilan University
Anat Ben-Porat, PhD, Lecturer, Bar Ilan University, Israel
Ohad Gilbar, Phd. Candidate, External lecturer, Bar-Ilan university, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Background and Purpose: In recent years, attention has been drawn to the treatment of male batterers and the need to recruit them into intervention programs that aim to promote processes of change. However, the literature has also pointed to the difficulties in treating men: notably, men tend to be both minimally motivated in regard to treatment and resistant to change.  In an attempt to shed light on the factors that contribute to this picture, studies conducted to date have focused for the most part on the clients' perspectives, and have been based mainly on quantitative methods. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to gain deeper insight from the perspectives of the services providers into the question of both policy and enacted practice in Israel regarding treatment of male batterers.

Methods: The study sample included 29 directors of Centers for the treatment and prevention of domestic violence in Israel who had held senior positions in the field for at least three years. Data were collected through four focus group interviews with the centers’ directors, and data analysis was performed inductively, using thematic content analysis.

Results: Analysis of the material collected in the focus groups revealed three main themes relating to the directors' policies: 1) a declaration by the directors of their views of domestic violence as being gender- symmetrical, 2) a dilemma regarding whether men should be confronted at the beginning of the therapeutic process with their behavior as abusers, and 3) directors’ personal attitudes towards gender that affect practice.  The study revealed a discrepancy between directors' declarations about policy and the actual practice enacted.  Directors were conflicted in regard to how to name the centers, the level of direct confrontation with the males, and the level of outreach efforts they should be making.

Conclusion and Implications: The study broadens both formal and informal knowledge regarding the policy to keep men in interventions. The findings allow for a wide-ranging understanding of male batterers who stay (or don't stay) in treatment.