Women Who Use Force

Women Who Use Force Treatment/Practice Model

The Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Inc. utilizes Vista’s creation, implementation and services that are grounded in the belief that women who use non-self-defensive physical force against their intimate partners- be they domestic violence survivors or not- are putting themselves and others at greater risk of harm and, therefore, need contextualized advocacy, support and intervention ( Larance, 2006).

It is understood that some women who are survivors- regardless of sexual orientation, racial and /or economic background – resort to using force in their intimate relationships.  Women who use force differ significantly from men’s use of force in terms of motivation, intent, and impact.  Generally, women resort to force in an effort to grasp short-term control of abusive and/or coercively controlling relationship dynamics.  In contrast, men who batter women use coercively controlling tactics as a pattern to establish long-term relationship dominance. 

Vista’s general intervention goals are to provide women who have used force in their intimate relationships the opportunity to plan for their safety; address feelings of shame and /or guilt related to their use of force; encourage appropriate levels of responsibility for having used force; and raise awareness of viable alternative to using force.

Admission Criteria

The admission criteria for those interested in group therapy will include the following:  the client meets criteria for a current DSM diagnosis and a minimum of two (2) of the following criteria:

Counseling may be voluntary or court-ordered
Client is able to establish and follow agreed-upon goals
There are no apparent risk factors for harm to self or others that interfere with the client’s ability to remain within the community
The minimum age for a client receiving batterers treatment is 18, and  with no maximum age limitation
Client experiences personal distress and some functional impairment, but is still able to function within the community.

Assessment Process

Prior to a client entering into group therapy, a diagnostic assessment will be conducted.  During the diagnostic assessment a psycho-social history will be obtained, any records received from the referral source will be reviewed, the client identifies the reasons for entering services, a mental status exam will be completed, appropriate and necessary releases of information will be obtained, and consent for treatment will be signed. Also during the assessment, an individual’s abilities, interests, presenting problems, suicidal risks, previous treatment and medication information will be obtained.  Information specific to the individual’s abusive behaviors will be explored, such as victim impact and lethality of abusive behaviors.

An individual service plan is then developed with the group member, which will include an identification of needs, desires, strengths, preferences, concerns, culture, support systems, and goals that the client would like to achieve through group therapy.

The Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Inc. believes in a multi-disciplinary team approach in the provision of batterers’ treatment.  In order to best facilitate this necessary process, a thorough monthly evaluation will be completed for each group member.  The evaluations will then be forwarded to the individual’s referral agency such as the court systems, probation or parole departments, or Job and Family Services Departments.  Group members’ progress in treatment, issues addressed, concerns regarding their treatment process, and additional recommendations are reflected in the monthly evaluation.  The CCFA believes that this collaboration between agencies will not only provide the best possible treatment to batterers, but will help to provide safety to their victims and community.


The clinicians facilitating the batterers treatment at The Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Inc. are licensed counselors and social workers through the State of Ohio.  Clinicians will receive training in the Vista curriculum.  Clinical supervision for these clinicians will be provided by the Clinical Services Director. 

Group Information

The female Women Who Use Force program will meet on a weekly basis for 60 minutes per session.  The goals for the group will have participants acknowledge that there are alternatives to using force.  Each session will focus on a new “tool” the women may not have perceived themselves as having before the session commenced.  

Groups are open-ended and will consist of two (2) or more group members with a maximum number of 12.  Groups will be gender specific; there will be a Women Who Use Force female group. 

Attendance, participation, completion of written homework and demonstration of achievement of the identified goals of this group will be mandatory to receive a successful discharge from this group.  The average length of treatment for a member of women who use force program is 18 weeks. 

Family members may be encouraged to participate in the groups with the client, or a specific therapy session may be scheduled to include the family members that will be conducted outside of the group setting. 

Reasons for Termination

Poor attendance or repeated tardiness
Abusive, threatening or disruptive behavior at group meetings
Alcohol or drug abuse or failure to follow through on a referral for alcohol or drug services
Arriving at group under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Complete unwillingness to accept feedback
Failure to take a minimal level of responsibility for abusive behaviors
Harassment or retaliation against his partner with respect to the partner contact
Acts of physical violence or intimidation, or other major acts of abuse while in program
Breaking restraining orders Using program against her partner
Her behavior is worse after group meetings
Failure to comply with probation or parole orders
Failure to cooperate with program rules and requirements
Failure to pay program fees

Fees for Service

The cost for group therapy is based on the ADAMhs Board sliding fee scale; available to residents of Defiance, Fulton, Williams, and Henry Counties.  Also, all forms of Medicaid are accepted for payment of services at The Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Inc.