According to O.C.G.A. 19-13-16(a): A court, in addition to imposing any penalty provided by law, when sentencing a defendant or revoking a defendant’s probation for an offense involving family violence, or when imposing a protective order against family violence, shall order the defendant to participate in an family violence intervention program…unless the court determines and states on the record why participation in such a program is not appropriate.
According to O.C.G.A. 19-13-10(6): ‘Family Violence Intervention Program’…means any program that is certified by the Department of Community Supervision (DCS)…and designed to rehabilitate family violence offenders. GCFV and DCS establish standards for FVIPs in Georgia. GCFV also assists DCS in training, certifying and monitoring FVIPs. Certification requires facilitators to have 80 hours of domestic violence training and 84 hours experience facilitating or co-facilitating FVIP classes.
The Commission and the Council of Superior Court Judges’ Committee on Family Law are exploring protocols for tracking compliance with the FVIP provision in a civil order. Promising solutions that are being tried locally include: Judicial compliance hearings; a Court Officer and the FVIP track attendance and the Officer notifies a volunteer lawyer of noncompliance, and the volunteer lawyer brings contempt; and, a Community-based Advocate and FVIP track attendance and the Assistant DA brings contempt for noncompliance.
Certified FVIPs are charged with prioritizing victim safety and participant accountability. Safety features include victim contact by advocates trained in safety planning, compliance and termination notifications sent to courts and probations, and curriculum requirements based on national best practices to minimize victim blaming and to maximize offender accountability.
Most research tells us that participants who complete FVIPs are less likely to commit new acts of violence or to violate restraining orders. Several studies show that FVIPs reduce recidivism by 36-85% (Dutton, 1986; Edleson & Grusznski, 1988; Tolman & Bennett, 1990; Gondolf, 1997; Gondolf, 1999). Still, despite some promising signs, recidivism rates are high and FVIPs cannot guarantee safety for victims. GCFV can e-mail you copies of recent research about FVIPs.
Georgia and 42 other states have FVIP standards that differentiate FVIPs from anger management, substance abuse treatment, conflict resolution, and psychotherapy. Anger management programs focus on anger as the impetus for violence (Gottlieb, 1999). In anger management, violence is primarily seen as a reactionary behavior and as a result of a triggering factor. However, FVIPs are specifically designed to intervene with perpetrators of intimate partner violence. In FVIPs, violence is viewed as learned behavior that is primarily motivated by a desire, whether conscious or unconscious, by the abuser to control the victim (Adams, 2003). Violence is seen as one of many forms of abusive behaviors chosen by abusers to control their intimate partners and family members, including physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse.
Locate a program using the directories or PDF lists. Contact the program and ask about class availability and fees. Offenders may attend any certified FVIP listed. Offenders are not limited to only attending FVIPs within the judicial circuit where they were referred or ordered.
If you are ordered to attend FVIP and you can not locate one in your area, please use the directory to locate the next program nearest you.
All others, please use your judicial or prosecutorial leadership to encourage your local providers or other agencies to apply for certification. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. 19-13-14(b) FVIPs that meet certification standards may be operated by any individual, partnership, corporation, association, civic group, club, county, municipality, board of education, school, or college or any public, private, or governmental entity.