Domestic violence accusations result in various consequences, particularly for parties found guilty of the offense. Consequently, the presiding judge may issue several probation orders that include domestic violence classes. The court aims to help you reform the violent behavior and subsequently conduct yourself better in the future.
Since domestic violence classes are a type of reformative action after an offense, you will be guided by strict legal requirements. Failure to uphold the expectations may attract additional punishments, much to your detriment. Therefore, you want to understand how domestic violence classes work and the requirements you need to uphold. Doing so will not only increase your chances of completing the classes successfully, but will also help with your behavioral change.
What Domestic Violence Classes Entail
When a suspect is found guilty of domestic violence in the trial court, sentencing follows. The sentencing hearing is set to issue the offender their sentence, including any mandatory court orders. Usually, the judge is open to leniency when issuing sentences. This is the case, especially if the offender is interested in reforming and ending their violent behavior.
If so, the judge may forgo issuing incarceration and fine penalties. Instead, they will order you to comply with probation orders. Among the various probation, directives are attending a domestic violence program, also known as the Batterer’s Intervention Program.
Parties ordered to attend the program will undergo intense training sessions spaced between fifty-two weeks or one year. They learn more about controlling their violent tendencies and eventually stop being prone to domestic violence during the period.
Therefore, maximum cooperation is expected from anyone enrolled in the program, as they will need to meet targets and provide accounts of their experiences. The recommended attendance schedule requires you to go for meetings necessary every week for at least two hours.
Further, the court issues a time limit for members participating in the program to complete the curriculum. By the end of eighteen months, you will need to submit your completed documents as evidence of compliance in participating and finishing the classes. Failure to do so may attract disadvantageous outcomes, including additional punishments.
Objectives of Issuing Domestic Violence Classes
Like many other probation programs, the Batterer’s Intervention Program refers to various objectives as the professionals assist you in undergoing reform. Thanks to the goals, you can also track your progress and determine whether the classes are reshaping domestic violence views. The main objectives set out in the program are:
To Highlight the Cause of Domestic Violence
Usually, domestic violence stems from a specific cause, depending on each person’s circumstances. It is therefore important to establish what triggers you to resort to violence, leading to legal violations. Although this may not be a straightforward process, you will work with experienced professionals to help you determine some key factors influencing your behavior.
Eventually, you will identify a few triggers that are easily linked to your inclination to domestic violence. Thanks to the guidance you receive, you will then understand how to handle the various triggers and avoid resorting to violence.
To Portray the Emotional and Psychological Effects of Domestic Violence
After understanding what causes your violent behavior, the professionals will take you through the effects of your actions. This process is often difficult to undergo, as it entails visualizing the physical and psychological harm caused to your loved ones.
However, some participants do not portray any form of remorse or concern during this stage, indicating a deeper problem. Subsequently, they may need to undergo an additional counseling program to help them attain this goal. Doing this is crucial towards making a full recovery, as you will appreciate the effects your actions have on different people.
To Encourage Behavioral Change in the Person Receiving Training
When you acknowledge the shortcomings causing you to engage in domestic violence and their effects on your family, you can begin to change. At this stage, the assigned professional will help you build new habits and ways of thinking to deter you from your previous reactions.
Additionally, the behavioral change involves doing self-improvement exercises to help with observing the positive outcomes of taking the domestic violence classes. Overall, the aim is to help you become an independent thinker who reacts less to the triggers causing the violence.
Parties Required to Join Domestic Violence Classes
As the name suggests, domestic violence classes are specially formulated to accommodate offenders found guilty of the crime. Hence, participants in the program will have undergone a criminal trial and been found guilty of an offense under section 243(e)(1) of the California Penal Code. The section prohibits persons from commiting a domestic battery crime.
Alternatively, you may also be directed to the program for violating section 273.5 of the Penal Code. The provision makes it an offense to inflict corporal injury to an intimate partner, especially a spouse. Nonetheless, the program organizers may also accept parties outside the court system.
For example, anyone who takes the initiative to seek reformative behavioral guidance can be accepted into the Batterer’s Intervention Program. However, they will have more lenient terms, particularly because they do not operate under court directives.
Who a Domestic Violence Offender is Under California Law
While the Penal Code provides for domestic violence offenders to undergo the intervention program or face additional penalties, it is important to identify who an offender is. This is because some parties may face false accusations, resulting in an unfair dispensation of justice.
Thus, a domestic violence offender is identified as someone who batters or inflicts corporal injury to a domestic victim. In this context, a domestic victim may include parties beyond the institution of marriage, as further discussed below.
Potential Victims in a Domestic Violence Case
Since case circumstances vary from one person to another, the court must apply different legal provisions to identify a potential domestic violence victim. This will then assist in identifying the offender and ordering them into the domestic violence classes.
Under section 6211 of the California Family Code, the following are persons capable of being victims of domestic violence:
- Your spouse
- Your current or former roommate
- Any person you are currently dating or used to date
- A person with whom you have a child(ren)
- Elderly persons in your care
- Any minors in your care
- Any person you share kinship ties with
You will be ordered to take domestic violence classes following the parties listed above despite being in an altercation with anyone other than a spouse. As a result, you want to be ready for the program and to comply with the issued guidelines for a successful outcome after the program.
What to Expect During the Domestic Violence Classes
Once you are enrolled into the Batterer’s Intervention Program, you are expected to uphold attendance and participation standards. Hence, you will receive various documents to help you navigate the program. The information should also inform you of the expectations to have as a participant in the process. By understanding the details, you will be better positioned to undergo positive change.
The various elements you can expect upon joining the program are divided into various categories. They include:
Modes of Instruction
Typically, issuing one mode of instruction is not as effective as providing multiple learning opportunities for the program members. Subsequently, you will undergo four main instruction types to help you adapt and explore the best learning option for you. Please note that you will need to participate in all four modes of instruction despite showing interest in a specific model. The instruction methods involve:
Firstly, providing counseling sessions for members is important, as it prepares them to handle difficult issues concerning their behavior. Therefore, one-on-one counseling is often the starting point for joining program members.
The counselor assigned to you will set a minimum number of meeting hours to equip them with the necessary information regarding your case. Afterward, they can help you identify the main problems and triggers associated with your violent tendencies.
Anger Management Classes
For some, issues related to domestic violence are easily detectable and associated with poor anger management. Thus, you may need to undergo several anger management classes to equip yourself with skills in controlling your emotions better. During the classes, you will also participate in various exercises aimed at helping you release some repressed emotions. In doing so, you can experience a smoother time letting go of trivial matters instead of engaging in violence.
Further, domestic violence classes also incorporate lectures where a course instructor issues important information regarding violence and its dangers. You will also have a chance to pose questions and have interactive sessions to raise your views. Members are often encouraged to take in as many details as they can from the lectures, as they can assist in formulating your reports later on.
Supervised Group Discussions
Lastly, group discussions are encouraged throughout the program. Holding group sessions is crucial in helping members interact and learn from each other. Overall, the experience can enrich parties who actively participate, as they will learn important lessons from others with similar experiences.
Steps Towards Completing the Program
Enrollment in the Batterer’s Intervention Program also requires you to remain in tandem with the curriculum, as you will need to portray your behavioral change upon completion. Therefore, you should understand the formal requirements to fulfill after joining the program, as the court may need to verify them. Among the requirements to satisfy are:
Completing the Intake/Introduction Program
An introduction program is useful in familiarizing you with the characteristics and consequences of domestic violence. During the introduction period, you are expected to appreciate the effects of your actions and find a way forward.
Taking Responsibility for Your Previous Violent Actions
Secondly, taking responsibility for your violent actions is crucial in proceeding with the program. By owning up to your actions, you will demonstrate a willingness to improve and accept the treatment you receive.
Understanding the Outcomes of Domestic Violence on Your Children
Children also face significant effects from domestic violence, especially when they live in a violent household. The effects often remain for a lifetime and may affect how they grow and develop intellectually and socially. As a result, you will also need to accept the potential effects of your violence on your children, if any. You will then receive guidelines on how to improve your relationship.
Presenting Your Activity and Progress Reports
Since the classes take on many participants, each person needs to remain accountable by presenting activity and progress reports. Remaining consistent with the entries helps portray a positive reform on your part. In return, the judge presiding over your case will be more lenient in issuing a case dismissal.
Consequences for Parties Who Do Not Complete the Program
As discussed, the domestic violence batterer’s intervention program forms part of the court-mandated probation requirements. Consequently, failure to fulfill the expectations of completion may yield serious outcomes for the parties involved.
For example, dropping out of the program is considered non-compliance and will attract the court’s attention. As a result, the judge may revoke the probation program and reinstate jail time and penalty fine orders.
You should note that the judge applies discretion when issuing punitive orders, meaning they will individually assess each party’s case. Therefore, one party may receive fine payment orders, while another may face jail time as stipulated in the Penal Code for committing domestic violence.
Typically, persons who have grossly violated the attendance regulations receive worse punishments than those who provide reasonable grounds for leaving. Nonetheless, the court mandates all participants to complete the program, so both parties will still receive penalties for dropping out.
Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney Near Me
When you or a loved one is ordered to join a domestic violence class in court, you need to know what to expect. This often stems from the limited information about the programs and the expectations set out for its participants. Therefore, you will need guidance from an experienced domestic violence attorney who understands the various requirements to fulfill.
At the Domestic Violence Attorney Law Firm (San Diego), you will receive the legal guidance necessary to complete the domestic violence program successfully. Our services are available to clients seeking domestic violence lawyers in San Diego, California. Our support also extends to helping you apply to the program and keeping tabs on new developments. For more information, contact us today at 619-393-8588.