BIPP: 30 years of Dedication to Batterer Accountability, Three Decades Committed to Victim/Partner Safety
As Denton County Friends of the Family prepares to celebrate its 40 years of service to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, it will highlight the impact that emergency shelter, advocacy, legal services, counseling, transitional housing, and domestic violence education has had on the lives of victims/survivors over the past 4 decades. One critical part of the agency’s rich history that sometimes goes unnoticed is the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program, also known as BIPP. The primary role of BIPP is to help individuals who are abusive or become violent in intimate relationships to identify and change beliefs that support their choice to be violent.
BIPP counseling groups were incorporated into DCFOF services in 1988, and the agency was among one of the first domestic violence programs in Texas to integrate offender group counseling as part of their core services. The agency’s early leadership and BIPP staff quickly gained a reputation for its innovative approach to batterer accountability, and in the early 1990’s they played a pivotal role in the development of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Community Justice Assistance Division (TDCJ-CJAD) BIPP Guidelines. These guidelines were established to provide administrative standards by which BIPP providers in Texas would implement their services to perpetrators of domestic violence.
Excellence in service, guideline compliance, and strong audit scores afforded DCFOF the privilege of becoming one of the first programs in Texas funded through TDCJ-CJAD. The guidelines were revised on several occasions over the next several years, eventually becoming the foundation for the 2009 BIPP Accreditation Guidelines with the latest revisions occurring in 2014.
With its rich history within Texas and Denton County, DCFOF BIPP has played a critical role in keeping victims safe over the past three decades. Although the primary service offered through BIPP is education groups for perpetrators, the program also provides services that directly benefit victims/partners of the enrolled participants. The Partner Advocate program makes contact with the victim/partner by phone to safety plan, provide counseling referrals, and inform the victim/partner regarding the participant’s progress in the BIPP course.
As a fully-accredited provider and the only state funded BIPP in Denton County, the BIPP team continues a long history of innovation through its unique approach to group facilitation, exploring a wide array of group best practices and encouraging increased engagement and accountability by participants in both pre- and post-BIPP enrollment. DCFOF BIPP has also been a leader in providing group services to women who use force/violence in intimate partner relations.
The Battering Intervention Program recognized very early on in its history that in order to be effective in its work with offenders, it needed to establish strong working partnerships with the criminal justice system, child welfare, law enforcement, and victim advocacy organizations. Today, the relationships with Denton County Probation, Parole, area Law Enforcement departments, Child Protective Services, and DCFOF Shelter/Advocacy services are critical in the work currently done with batterers, making sure that the victim’s story guides offender accountability in all levels of service.
In continuation of its vibrant and rich history of excellence, DCFOF BIPP completed its most recent state audit in 2019, receiving a 98% compliance rate. The exemplary score reflected the dedication and commitment by BIPP staff and agency leadership to ensure that BIPP continues to provide the highest quality of service. The field of batterer treatment is still in its infancy in comparison to other counseling disciplines, but one can be certain that the DCFOF Battering Intervention and Prevention Program will continue to play an important role in supporting the agency’s mission and be a leader in helping end domestic violence in Denton County.
For more information about BIPP services and information about the upcoming one-day BIPP Conference visit BIPP and BIPP Conference
Written by: David Almager is the Director, Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP)