What are Family Violence Intervention Programs?
Dear FVIP providers,
I can't underscore just how much I appreciate your patience and commitment during this unprecedented time. In very short order, we have all experienced major disruptions to our personal and professional lives, and we are still facing a road ahead full of uncertainty and sudden change. However despite the current state, we know that what doesn't change is the vital role of our FVIP classes in holding participants accountable and keeping victims safe. Please know that our number one goal is to do everything in our power to enable you to operate in the safest and best way possible and continue moving forward.
During this pandemic crisis, we will strive to be responsive and adaptable to the extraordinary demands now placed on the work that must continue. Please know that we are working hard to minimize disruptions, address your needs and concerns, and maintain a high standard of care. Recently, in our efforts to adapt to the public health crisis and mitigate the potential impact on FVIPs, we advised you on the guidance from DCS to suspend in person group classes with the option to conduct classes virtually which would normally not be permissible under our Rules. After issuing that guidance, I sought further clarification and formal authorization on our ability to override the rule prohibiting virtual class, particularly in light of the fact that this could be a prolonged need. I understand that this may have resulted in some disruption in your efforts to continue classes and apologize for any confusion that was caused. However, I am happy to announce that in response to my request to suspend the rule prohibiting online classes, Commissioner Nail immediately moved to convene an emergency meeting of the DCS board to issue a formal waiver of the rule for the duration of the state of emergency. The emergency board meeting was held this Monday morning and the board voted unanimously to temporarily waive the rule prohibiting online classes until the state of emergency is lifted.
Effective immediately, FVIP providers are permitted to conduct virtual classes, and any previously conducted classes under the State of Emergency are valid. Please remember that you must still adhere to all other rules governing FVIPs. This new platform may present its own challenges, but we know that you're doing the best you can to be effective and keep your participants engaged. Please also remember to keep your victim liaisons informed.
We also recognize that the virtual format might not be possible for every provider. Unfortunately, there are not many other options. Our guidance continues to be that providers follow the recommended social distancing to protect the health and safety of everyone involved. Thus, if the virtual class is not an option our advisement is to suspend in person classes until state and health officials deem it safe to resume business as usual and the State of Emergency is lifted.
I want to express my sincerest appreciation and respect for the efforts you are making to continue on and change lives. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Know that we are all in this together so let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you.
April W. Ross
Executive Director, GCFV
What are FVIPs?
Certified Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIPs) are 24-week programs that are designed to rehabilitate family violence offenders by holding them accountable and prioritizing victim safety.
How much do FVIP classes cost?
Classes average $25-$30 per class. FVIPs must have a sliding fee scale for participants declared indigent by the court. The maximum allowable charge per class for any participant is $50.
How are participants sentenced to FVIP?
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.
How are FVIP programs certified and monitored?
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 60 hours of GCFV approved training, 40 hours of community education and victim advocacy, and 72 hours experience co-facilitating FVIP classes.
How are FVIP participants monitored for compliance?
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 District Attorney brings contempt for noncompliance.
How do FVIPs incorporate victim safety?
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 probation, and curriculum requirements based on national best practices to minimize victim blaming and to maximize offender accountability.
Do FVIPs work?
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.
How is FVIP different from Anger Management?
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.
How do I enroll in an FVIP?
What if I can’t find an FVIP in my area?
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.