An Examination of Whether and How Court-Mandated Intervention Programs Address the Lived Realities of Women Who Perpetrate Intimate Partner Violence

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Julie POON, University of Guelph, Canada
In Canada, the implementation of pro-charging policies and the subsequent rise in women charged for intimate partner violence (IPV) has resulted in an increase in women being court-mandated to attend intervention programs as perpetrators of IPV. Canadian researchers have recently started to explore this area and acknowledge that existing programs that rely upon interventions designed for male batterers may not be suitable when responding to women’s use of force because their actions may often be defensive rather than offensive. The types of IPV used by women, its severity, and its consequences are often gendered and intersect with multiple forms oppression that inform how each woman perceives their use of force. This paper draws upon one-on-one interviews with twenty women who were court-mandated to attend Ontario’s Partner Assault Response (PAR) program as well as three PAR program facilitators from a women-centred agency within a large, urban city in Ontario, Canada. Using their voices, the findings discuss how women PAR participants interpret their own use of force and whether and how the PAR program addressed their lived realities. Given the complex reasons that women engage in IPV and their diverse needs, implications for program and policy responses will be discussed.