Setting Program Conditions
This toolkit acknowledges the difficulty in assessing DV cases for suitable diversion programs. We strongly encourage program planners to scrutinize cases on a case-by-case basis prior to diversion and to allow mental health professionals to select and direct the treatment programming.
A variety of options for treatment and counseling needs can be utilized to address the needs and behaviors of the enrolled individual.
- Trauma-informed therapy for enrolled individuals who were previously victims of DV.
- Alcohol and substance use treatment.
- Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP). For additional information, see APA’s policy statement on BIP.
- Basic Needs Assessment (stable housing, food, medical needs, etc.).
- Employment Education Services and/or Job Assistance.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Professional counseling, where appropriate. Given the significant concerns related to power and control when conducting certain types of counseling with couples involved in DV matters, diversion programs can include professional counselors and/or trained providers to handle the evaluation and recommendation of any counseling on a case-by-case basis.
Smaller programs with limited funding or resources can create a list of providers to refer for options if treatment providers are not built into the diversion program.
Price and transportation concerns may create obstacles to enrollment. Some solutions:
- Funding through prosecutors’ offices.
- Insurance and Medicaid.
- Funding through grants or treatment providers.
- Enrolled individual pays for services (optional sliding scale based on income).
- DV treatment providers that offer remote options and access.
Options for successful completion of the diversion program:
- Case remains unfiled/unpapered.
- Dismissal of all charges.
- Reduction in charges.
- Expungement after completion.
- Plan can incorporate any immediate ramifications for noncompliance with the program.
When reviewing safety measures and noncompliance, consider:
Safety violations versus technical violations in the context of the history of abuse. While safety violations are of paramount concern, this toolkit does not diminish the seriousness of technical violations that accused individuals can utilize to retraumatize or continue to exercise control over the victim. Therefore, mechanisms for victim input and contextualizing all violations within the context of the history of abuse can be included for each violation regardless of technicality.
A graduated system of intense counseling for technical violations may be considered by program planners, with more severe or repeat technical violations leading to a return to the prosecution track. Prosecutors can retain the discretion to utilize the context and victim input of a violation to return a case to the prosecution track in the appropriate circumstances.