Social Service Domestic Violence Program

The Domestic Violence Program is a cognitive behavioral intervention that complies with the standards for abuser treatment as set forth in the Illinois Protocol for Domestic Abuse Batterers Programs. This evidenced-based program serves court-mandated clients throughout Cook County who have been found guilty of violent behavior against an intimate partner and sentenced to probation, conditional discharge or supervision.

The program’s group facilitators are sworn casework officers and are specially trained to provide group intervention and requisite abuser treatment to domestic violence offenders in a court-based setting. The goal of the program is to ensure victim safety while holding offenders accountable for their abusive behavior.

Program Overview

The overall goal of the Domestic Violence Program is to eliminate the use of violence by offenders. Two principles that determine and shape the intervention strategies are victim safety and abuser accountability. Once the physical violence has ceased, the goal is to stop other forms of violence and intimidation that offenders use to gain control over their partners. Principles of the program's philosophy are as follows: 

Violence is a learned behavior. An astounding 86% of male batterers experienced or witnessed abuse as a child. If violence is a learned behavior, alternatives to violence may be learned as well. 

Violence is a choice. While persons often describe feeling out of control when they commit violent acts, they are actually in control of their behavior and can learn nonviolent behavior to replace their physical and nonphysical violence. Batterers are solely responsible for their use of violence. Blaming others or outside factors, such as alcohol, drugs or stress, prevents batterers from acknowledging responsibility for their behavior. Taking responsibility allows batterers to explore their own thoughts, feelings, values and overall belief systems that have supported their use of violence. 

Power and control are at the root of violent behavior. Individuals behave abusively from a desire to control their partner’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. By controlling their partner, they feel more powerful. 

Violence towards partners is a crime and should be treated as such. Domestic violence is not a family matter. One of the key pathological aspects of the battering relationship is the shift in responsibility for the violence from the batterer to the victim. A clear message must be sent to the batterer that the batterer is responsible for his or her behavior, there is no excuse for domestic violence, and that he or she does not have the right to abuse his or her partner.