Spanish Domestic Violence and Batterer Inventions Classes Online Now Availabe

by Dr. Ari Novick – October 24, 2015 has now translated all of their online domestic violence classes and batterer intervention classes into Spanish.  We have had many requests over the years to provide the DV classes in Spanish, as the rate of domestic violence among Spanish speaking individuals has remained consistent while our programs have been in place.  Spanish classes will be available at all lengths, from 8, 10, 12, 16, 26, 36, and 52 hour programs.  The course curriculum will remain the same as well as the format of the classes.

These programs are particularly ideal for attorney, probation or courts who are having a difficult time finding Spanish speaking domestic violence classes in their area and are open to an alternative way of taking classes for this client population.  

Click this link register for any of our DV classes in Spanish online

Learn To Develop New Patterns of Behavior With DV Intervention Programs

by Dr. Ari Novick – September 11, 2014

It has been 20 years since the initial passage of the Violence Against Women Act and research indicates that there has been about a 64% reduction in domestic violence among adult women. The truth is that when there are consequences for bad behavior, individuals do think twice about it. Furthermore, the country’s first Domestic Violence Hotline set up at that time has helped approximately 3.4 million people to overcome this abuse and could help more if it had more funding. This is major progress, but with this week’s news about Ray Rice, it is apparent that it’s still a very significant issue. In fact as a result of all the publicity, the National DV Hotline received an 84% increase in phone calls just in the two days after the video was released to national networks. If you haven’t managed to see the footage that has been replayed endlessly on national television, it’s live video feed of him punching his wife and knocking her unconscious in a public elevator.

So this public display of violence is a reminder to us all of why congress passed this Act and the fact there are many more situations like this that still go on behind closed doors every day. The only positive thing to come from this is that it has relit the conversation and has encouraged many people to ask for help. In our own family, my children have unwittingly been exposed to the footage while watching sporting events on television and have been shocked, questioning why anyone would treat another person this way. It’s unfortunately given us the opportunity to explain what domestic abuse is and what the flags are to look for in people that are potential offenders. I’m sure it’s also made many abusers think twice because its more apparent than ever that there are video surveillance cameras in most public places, most people have the ability to quickly pick up a scene on their phones and with social media sites, it’s impossible to keep this kind of thing quiet.

Ray Rice will have many hurdles to face for his unacceptable behavior. Although his wife is standing by him, the NFL isn’t. He lost his career and his financial stability. He is now expected to participate in a yearlong intervention program to learn to change his ways and hopefully come out a better person. The purpose of sending him to a batterers intervention program is because the violence is preventable. Many offenders grow up witnessing this behavior in their own homes and don’t know anything different. Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles or others in their community modeled it and they think it’s the way to gain control in an intimate relationship. It’s learned throughout their youth and can be unlearned in adulthood by understanding the tools to utilize to create healthy relationships. A good course or 1/1 therapy will teach him how to recognize his anger triggers, how to improve his communication and listening skills, and anger and stress management skills. The plan is to develop a new pattern of behavior for sustained change and stop the cycle of violence.

How To Tell If You Are Guilty of Domestic Abuse Before It's Too Late

by Dr. Ari Novick – September 2, 2014

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the U.S. ages 15 – 44 years old. It’s a sad and frustrating statistic that unfortunately continues to permeate our society. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate and you might even be shocked by who is perpetrating it. It’s not necessarily the big guy covered in tattoos who is in and out of jail. It happens in white collar, affluent neighborhoods in families where you might think “he’s such a nice guy!” It infiltrates all religions and cultures and it could just as well happen in your first teenage relationship as one later in life. Education, success and accolades don’t make it go away. We see it all across the board and very often amongst high paid sports heroes.

It’s prevalence amongst athletes recently caused NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to create stronger sanctions in the hopes that players will think twice before attacking their victims. He just rewrote the dv portion of the personal conduct policy to include harsher punishments like a six game suspension for first time offenders and banishment for life for second time offenders with the right to appeal for reinstatement after a year. However, without the proper therapy and education, it’s difficult for individuals to change their ways, even with the knowledge of the heightened rules looming over them. Just this last weekend, Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence charges involving his pregnant fiancée.

Some of the behaviors that indicate there might be potential for you to become a batterer or that you have crossed the line include:

1. Controlling behavior. You have taken on the role of the “father figure” concerned that the victim doesn’t have good decision making skills. It may start out innocent enough but in some cases progress to monitoring their whereabouts, who they are with, reading emails and texts, assuming control of finances and making all the final decisions on everything. In some cases the abuser demands engagement, moving in together, and/or marriage quickly in the relationship to block any other potential suitors.

2. Jealousy. You feel the need to find out whom she is talking to, question whom she is spending her time with when not with you and even accuse of her flirting with other men. You begin to stalk her by dropping in unexpectedly at her place of business or apartment after work. You might even go to great lengths to record her car mileage or ask friends what they see her doing. In some cases, this behavior becomes so extreme that the victim’s independence is taken away and is told she can’t work and must instead stay at home to care for the abusers (your) needs.

3. Blaming others for your insecurities. You are easily ashamed or insulted and don’t take ownership for your own emotions but instead accuse others of controlling how you feel. You blame the victim for not doing everything to make you happy. You say things like “I need you and can’t live without you” to manipulate the victim into feeling like they can’t ever break up the relationship.

4. Verbal Abuse. You have increasingly saying things that are derogatory, cruel or hurtful to the victim. It may have started behind closed doors but you’ve lost control and it’s happening in front of friends and family too.

Batters intervention education and training is the key to getting this abusive behavior under control. It is challenging and will take time but is the most effective way to teach new skills to overcome these negative behaviors. It’s available in group sessions, 1/1 with a licensed therapist and in online, private programs.

Why Women Stay In Abusive Relationships

by Dr. Ari Novick – August 25, 2014

It’s easy to take a look at another person’s relationship and think, “If I were in that abusive situation, I’d get the heck out!” You would never stand for being mentally tortured, physically abused, stalked or controlled in any way. However, it’s not always easy to get out from under the mess. In many domestic violence scenarios, the victim wants to escape but can’t because of financial difficulty, physical ailments, or children involved. Unfortunately, intimate partner abuse is a huge problem in this country. According to a 2010 CDC survey, more than 1 in 3 American women have experienced rape, stalking, or physical violence during their life.

So why stay? The number one reason is that the victim fears reprisal if she leaves. The abusive partner has made death threats, or said he will take the kids away forever, or spread bad rumors or financially destroy the victim. Many women who are abused don’t have jobs or even access to the bank accounts, so they are financially dependent on the abuser. Many have children and don’t want to lose custody or take them away from their home, their schools or their friends. Or, sometimes the victims lose the support of friends and family who have tried for years to rescue the situation. What was once a support network has retreated in frustration and the victim is left feeling hopeless with nowhere to turn.

Last week I spoke with a client who had questions about our online classes and then purchased our 8-hour domestic violence program at in the hopes that her husband would take some time at home to learn how to change his behavior. She explained that it’s been 11 years of “good days and bad days”. He grew up in an abusive household and when she married him, he swore he’d never act like his own father did. Unfortunately, over the years she’s sat by as he’s become increasingly abusive towards her. On the bad days, she’s been close to death. In her case, she feels stuck in the relationship because she has 2 children and a number of health ailments. She gets edema in her legs, a defibrillator has been implanted to keep her heart beating on track and she takes meds for anxiety. If she mentions leaving him, he has not only threatened to take the kids away from her but stop paying for health insurance. She has gotten in the car and driven away many times, but always ends up coming back because she has nowhere to go. The police have been involved in their disputes numerous times and he’s even been to jail. She explained that she doesn’t know where this will end, but doesn’t have the financial freedom to get out.

This week she called back to let me know that he actually agreed to sit down with her over the weekend and spend time to go through the class. She couldn’t believe how involved he got and it spurred a lot of conversation. He told her he truly never saw himself as a threat but instead thought she was always being overly dramatic for attention. Now that he he's heard it from a professional, he sees how his behavior fits the description of a controlling abusive personality. She was thankful to us for providing this service online because she knows she would never have been able to get him off the couch and into a classroom. He says he will take his newfound knowledge and work on improving himself. She now sees hope in the future of her family.

The Lethality Assessment Program Helps Victims Connect With Immediate Support

by Dr. Ari Novick – August 8, 2014

The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is a strategy to help first responders identify victims of domestic violence who are at serious risk of being hurt or killed by their intimate partners. Police officers, health care providers, clergy and court employees can utilize the 11-question survey immediately to evaluate potential danger. The first 3 questions tend to be the most telling. They include:

1. Has he threatened to kill you?

2. Do you think he might kill you?

3. Does he have access to a gun?

Other serious indicators are if the offender is unemployed and if he’s ever tried or threatened to commit suicide.

In the past, cases have been documented in which police officers arrived at a potentially dangerous scene, have asked a couple questions of the offender and then determined there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward. This often left victims behind to potentially endure further abuse or even death. This puts into place an official program that requires officers to separate the parties involved and ask the victim to reply to the survey of questions. Of course, the victim can decline to participate, but it throws them a lifeline to get out if they feel endangered.

If the answer to a few of these questions is yes, then the first responder proceeds to place a phone call to the local domestic violence hotline to get advice about how to proceed in the area. The victim then has immediate access to speak over the phone with a trained domestic violence representative. Together the responder, the hotline advocate and the victim can quickly come up with a game plan for immediate safety.

Domestic violence is a serious situation across the nation. In 2012, the city of Pittsburgh, PA alone, reported a total of 12,438 dv calls. Studies show that many victims of domestic violence are afraid to get in touch with local shelters or other services because they fear reprisal from the abuser, feel like they can’t afford to get out from under the negative situation or are ashamed. This program helps them overcome this initial hurtle by providing support on the spot to lifesaving services. In Maryland, where the program originated, they saw a 34% reduction in homicides over a 5-year period after it was instituted.

The success of the program has contributed to it’s roll-out in 31 other states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Minnesota, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Florida, Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Nevada and Vermont.

If you are involved in a dv situation, report it and the offender is charged, you can expect the following legal repercussions to be put into place for your safety:

1. A restraining order against the offender.

2. Incarceration

3. Mandatory Anger Management counseling or Batterers Intervention Program. The offender must pay for generally between 8 – 52 sessions depending on the state it happens in, and severity of conviction.

4. Community service.

5. Significant fines. In California they can get as high as $6,000 for a first conviction.

6. Deportation if not a U.S. citizen.

7. Conviction goes on your permanent record for anyone to see if they do a background check.

8. Potential loss of parental rights.

What To Expect If Your Are Arrested For Domestic Violence Allegations

by Dr. Ari Novick – July 22, 2014

Has your anger been getting the better of you? Does it last too long, get too intense or even lead to aggression? Have you been managing your anger until this point, but now feel like you are losing control? Living your life with these angry feelings can cause all sorts of problems. Physically you might have started to experience high blood pressure or gastrointestinal problems. You get mad, you start to sweat, your stomach tightens, you clench your jaw, your face turns red, you start to tremble and your judgment becomes cloudy. Then things happen that you later regret. This is not how you need to live your life and you can take action to change it!

Numerous studies show that many individuals who have anger management issues learned this habit-forming behavior in childhood. Boys who grow up in a household in which they witness abuse are twice as likely to abuse their own intimate partners and kids when they grow up. Often times, these angry feelings unfortunately result in some form of domestic abuse. In fact, the CDC reports that about 1.3 million women become the victims of physical violence by their intimate partner each year and almost 1/3 of female homicide victims are killed by their boyfriend, husband or ex-husband. Before your intimate partner relationship reaches a tragic level, get help. As you may have already experienced, in some states such as Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington, if a phone call is made to the police during an altercation, officers must place the offender under arrest and a hearing is usually set for 24 – 48 hours later.

So, now what can you expect? At the first hearing, the judge will take a look at all the facts and decide whether there is probable cause and what limitations should be imposed on the abuser. One of the first things the judge will decide is whether you can have any contact with the victim. This means if you are perceived to be a threat to your former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, child or a relative, a protective order will be imposed so that you will be arrested if you get near them or bother them in any way for a period of time. The judge will also determine if the children involved are unsafe in any way. If so, full custody will be granted to the victim in the form of a restraining order.

The next court date you can expect is the arraignment. You will be formally told what all the accusations are and what your options are. Then you can expect a pre-trial hearing within the next 30 days in which the court monitors the progress of your case, makes sure that you are following any orders that were issued and discusses any new issues that have arisen. This is a time when many cases are resolved before they go to a formal trial stage. If your case continues on to the trial, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of your crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you still haven’t come to a negotiated resolution during this time, your case will progress to sentencing. Each case and state will vary on the resulting implications for the offender, but they can include covering all medical expenses, lost wages, counseling and legal expenses and damaged property for the victim, as well as more jail time, community service hours, fines and mandatory Batterers Intervention Classes (BIP) ranging from 8 – 52 sessions.

Domestic Violence classes are generally court ordered to teach offenders how to “unlearn” this negative pattern of behavior. Defendants learn how to understand what triggers the abusive behavior and positive alternative ways to handle stress, trauma or upsetting situations. The goal is to develop better communication skills, improve mental and physical health, strengthen relationships and create a better-balanced approach to life. These classes can be taken online with approval from the judge or locally at traditional in-person classroom settings. Do the research to find the best and most convenient program for your needs. This is the one thing that some judges will often work with you on so you don’t have to miss more work or school to get to mandatory classes.

Recognizing The Signs Of Digital Abuse

by Dr. Ari Novick – July 15, 2014

Do you ever take a look at your relationship and consider that the way you treat your partner is unhealthy? It can be an extremely difficult realization for anyone to come to. It might be that your partner has finally walked out or has threatened divorce, or the law has gotten involved and you are left behind knowing that things have to change. To successfully move forward and really break the cycle, you must not minimize or deny your role in the situation, but instead take responsibility for all of your actions. As long as you are willing to educate yourself on what it means to be in a healthy relationship, get professional help and make a commitment to bettering yourself, you can begin to create healthier relationships.

Usually, when you hear the term “domestic abuse”, images of physical violence and battering come into our mind. We picture someone who comes to school or work with a black eye, or a broken arm without any good explanation for it, especially if this happens more than once. However, a growing problem in today’s world is not something you can see, it’s all mental and visual and is called “digital abuse”. It’s a type of controlling and bullying behavior that occurs online via social networking sites, or through text messaging that is disrespectful, lowers the partner’s self-esteem or manipulates them to do something or act a certain way. Basically, one person wants to gain the upper hand over the other person by checking up on them, stalking their online interactions or posting negative and hurtful things about them, therefore causing emotional stress.

Online abuse is something that has unfortunately become more and more prevalent amongst teenagers. In one study from the Urban Institute, researchers surveyed 5,647 young adults in 10 northeastern schools. A whopping 26% of dating teens reported experiencing online abuse from boyfriends/girlfriends and 17% said they were bullied by friends.

When reviewing your relationship, one of the first things you should ask yourself is do you feel like you trust each other? If you are exhibiting any of the following types of behavior, you aren’t being loyal, caring and attentive but instead are exhibiting unhealthy, overbearing and possessive behavior:

1. You ask or steal passwords on the sly so you can monitor online activity.

2. You look through his or her phone, checking emails, texts and/or recent calls without permission.

3. You post pictures and tag your partner in compromising or embarrassing situations.

4. You constantly text your partner asking questions like “Who are you with?” or “What are you doing?” and become angry if they don’t respond right away.

5. You make your partner feel like they have to constantly be monitoring their phone for any word from you for fear of reprisal.

6. You demand or send explicit pictures without approval.

7. You monitor who your partner is “friends” with on social media sites.

Think about how you are treating your partner. If you are suffocating them with constant calls, texts or by monitoring them with technology, it’s a type of abusive behavior that is unhealthy and unsafe. Your partner has a right to talk to whomever she/he wants to and if you want the relationship to last long-term, it’s time to get help.

Reduce Teen Dating Violence With An Educational DV Class

by Dr. Ari Novick – July 8, 2014

Our daily life is full of stress related to work, family, money, health, friendships and just keeping up with our busy schedules. Everyone experiences stress and anger over the way others behave or obstacles we run into, but everyone responds to it differently.

In most dv cases, individuals become overly possessive and create an abusive relationship because they need the feeling of having power and control over something in their life. There are several reasons for this to occur. One is that the person had a tough childhood. This was how they observed their parents behaving and was how they were brought up. Constantly fighting, throwing things and even physical abuse was the norm. Growing up in this atmosphere can contribute to insecurity and low self-esteem. In adulthood, these individuals find that one sure way to gain attention and control over things is to perpetuate this behavior. Initially, they might come across as loving and caring, but as the relationship develops over months or years, the person seeks to dominate the relationship through physical or mental abuse, isolation, stalking and monitoring the other person’s life.

The scary part is that getting involved in this type of relationship can start young. A recent study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine reports that after surveying about 4,000 teens aged 14 to 20 who came into a suburban ER department, 1 out of 5 girls and 1 out of 8 boys reported they had experienced dating violence over the past year. This is particularly dangerous not only for safety reasons, but because teens tend to normalize the behavior. Teens that experience abusive behavior usually keep it quiet because they don’t want to get anyone in trouble, they don’t want to draw attention to the situation, or they just blame themselves and explain it away that this is how it should be.

There are some specific warning signs to look for in your own or a friend’s abusive relationship:

1. Does the intimate partner get easily jealous and possessive?

2. Do you or your friend feel sad, insecure or afraid when in the presence of the intimate partner?

3. Does the partner mandate what to do, how to act and how to dress or look?

4. Does the person have a history of fighting, uncontrolled angry outbursts, or mistreating others?

5. Is the partner constantly checking up on you via texting, phone calls or by showing up wherever you are?

6. Does the intimate partner insult you in front of others or threaten you if you don’t shape up?

7. Does the person blame you for their negative, obnoxious and inappropriate behavior saying that you provoked the response?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to get help, educate yourself and get others involved. Know that you are not alone and seek support from friends and family. If it’s your friend, let them know that you are aware of what’s going on and it’s not their fault. Reassure them that you love them and come up with a list of reasonable ways to support them. Listen to your fears and create a safety plan including extra money to access and places to go in case of emergency.

Are You In A Verbally Abusive Relationship?

by Dr. Ari Novick – June 25, 2014

Some people are in abusive relationships and don’t even realize it. For a teenager, it might be his or her first intimate partner and they think the behavior is normal. For an adult, you might have grown up in an abusive household and don’t know any better. Being involved in an abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being physically battered, but instead you might be feeling confused, lonely and alone because of emotional and verbal abuse.

Some signs that your intimate partner relationship is unhealthy include:

1. You are constantly living in an atmosphere of fear, submission, intimidation and uncertainty.

2. You are being isolated from your close friends and family.

3. Your partner monitors your email, social networks and voice mail messages.

4. Your spouse or boyfriend reacts with jealousy and rage about the smallest things. For example, he storms off if you happen to talk to another father while you are watching your daughter at a dance recital.

5. You are the recipient of demeaning verbal attacks designed to lower your self-esteem.

Verbal abuse is one of the common problems that victims in domestic abuse situations face. In many cases, the abuser starts out charming so the recipient is caught off guard by the behavior. As the partner wants to gain more control in the relationship, he/she begins to subtly put down the spouse. It might start out as light humor about you like “My wife is such a teenager, I can’t get her to clean up anything!” It then escalates to direct criticism in which he insists that it’s “for your own good” so you can be aware and better yourself. This behavior might happen in front of others or mostly at home so that those around you have no idea about the destructive relationship. You work hard to change your ways to please him, but it’s never enough. Another common sign is that the spouse loses control of his angry behavior, yelling and screaming to blow off steam. Instead of taking ownership for this inappropriate reaction, he/she blames the victim for it. For example, “If you would stop being so flirty, I wouldn’t have to act this way!” You try to respond and defend yourself but he refuses to discuss it. You are left feeling horrible and always at fault. No matter how hard you work at making him happy, it’s never enough and you are left depressed and feeling like you are nuts!

Individuals who use verbal abuse to control their partners lack empathy and compassion. They utilize these tactics to make the spouse feel like they aren’t as important, are unattractive, and unintelligent. The victims blame themselves and try to adapt to the lifestyle, always hoping that things will get better.

If you see yourself in this type of relationship, stop trying to defend his behavior and believe in yourself. Go and get support from a therapist, talk to family and friends and understand that you can’t change the abuser. He or she has to want to make a change, which he can do by seeking professional help, and taking educationally based classes to learn new skills.

Don't Let A Friend's Abusive Tendencies Go Unnoticed

by Dr. Ari Novick – June 12, 2014

It’s been 20 years since Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. Many of us watched the story unfold on national TV with the Bronco chase down the freeway, her sister’s very public interviews about the history of battery that Nicole experienced during her marriage to OJ Simpson and then the ongoing “Trial of the Century”. This case was a huge red flag to women across the country that battery can lead to murder. In fact, it spurred Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act, which provided a huge amount of federal funding to raise awareness of the issue, and made it mandatory for police officers to arrest abusers.

In listening to both abusers and victims on a daily basis, it is apparent that each domestic violence situation is different. In some cases, it’s a teenage relationship that has turned frightening, in others the couple has been married for decades and one partner has been taking the physical or emotional abuse over and over again behind closed doors. In many cases, the abuser is an upstanding citizen, charming and helpful to those around him (like OJ), so it goes undetected unless the victim reaches out for help. The underlying similarity in every situation is that the abuser is looking for control and power in the relationship.

You might think, how has our relationship deteriorated to this point? How does this happen? How did I let it happen? In Nicole’s case, she was married to a famous athlete and TV personality, complained to friends and family about her fears, had gotten out of the relationship to the extent she could and it still happened.

The bottom line is that if you are a perpetrator or victim in an abusive relationship, it will most likely keep happening until the perpetrator addresses the behavior through therapy and education. It’s a cycle that starts with an angry interaction. The abuser is triggered by something in the relationship that makes him feel insecure. For example, his girlfriend is talking to another man at a party, a loss of a job or the perception that his wife is more successful than he is. Then the uncontrollable violence occurs followed by shame and even sorrow. The abuser apologizes and promises it will never happen again so life goes back to normal until it does happen again.

In many situations, the abuser is afraid to get out of the relationship because of the perceived repercussions or financial restraints. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused or that you know an abuser, it’s important that you do and say something before it’s too late. It’s time to put aside any worries you have about hurting your friendship and save a life. Talk to the person and tell him what you think. Draw attention to his actions while it’s happening with comments like “Did you mean to put her down in front of everyone? That’s just hurtful and embarrassing for her”. Take a strong stance and explain why he/she shouldn’t threaten, bully or hit others. Suggest he give you a call to help calm down whenever he feels like he’s losing control. Call the police if you witness anything violent!

If you think you are abusive, you might think you can get over it on your own. The fact is that the only way to truly change your behavior is by getting help from a therapist or group programs. It will take time and effort, but is essential to keep you out of the legal system and to save the relationship.

Tag cloud

Month List