As a recovering abuse victim, you are glad that there are resources available to help men and women who have been abused by those who love them. However, when the judge ordered that your ex be required to undergo a domestic violence treatment program, you were confused. How can abusers prove that they no longer intend to do harmful acts in the future—and what happens if the treatment is unsuccessful?

Requirements for Court-Ordered Domestic Violence Abuser Programs in Washington State

All perpetrators must attend a domestic violence treatment program has been certified by the Department of Social and Health Services. In addition, abusers and programs must meet several minimum qualifications to ensure the treatment is effective, including:

  • Medical and psychological assessment. All abusers must have a full medical and psychological profile completed, including history of violence, potential risk of lethal actions, and past history of similar abuse programs. This also includes substance abuse assessment, learning disabilities, literacy problems, and criminal history to devise a program tailored to the individual.
  • Trained staff. All evaluations and treatments must be provided by qualified personnel and focus primarily on ending the violence, getting the perpetrator to acknowledge his actions, and changing his future behavior. Programs should include personal education as well as family and cultural dynamics of domestic violence to deepen understanding of causes and how to respond appropriately.
  • Group therapy. All weekly treatment sessions must be in a group. One-on-one sessions may be included, but not substituted for group sessions.
  • Exit approval. Perpetrators must be given official release in order to complete treatment. It is not enough that the perpetrator complete a certain length of time in therapy or attend a set number of sessions; he must complete specific criteria to the satisfaction of the department secretary in order to be considered graduated from the program.
  • Compliance. The program must have specific policies and procedures that deal with non-compliance of therapeutic tasks, no-shows, and re-offenses.

What Can I Do to Prevent My Ex From Trying to Contact Me While He or She Is in Treatment?

There are many ways you can protect your family legally—such as filing protection orders—but you should also consider taking additional safety precautions. Click the related links on this page to find out more about protection orders, or read our testimonials to see how we have helped clients like you in the past.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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