The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Help for Abusers

Family Violence Intervention Programs

Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIP) are 24-week education programs designed to help abusers take responsibility for their violence.  The programs are designed to help batterers understand that the use of power, control and violence are barriers to a healthy relationship.  Groups discuss non-violent alternatives and the role that power and control plays in their intimate relationship.  Certified Family Violence Prevention Programs provide group education sessions for court ordered family violence defendants, TPO respondents and volunteer participants who want to change their beliefs and actions.

About Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIP)

Attending FVIP classes is not a guarantee that an abuser will change, but it may make an abuser more aware of the role of power and control in the relationship.  Attending anger management classes, couples counseling or substance abuse counseling is not the answer for domestic violence.  Domestic violence is rarely a problem with anger.  Instead, it is a problem of one person trying to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.  Anger management classes do not address the power and control that is behind domestic violence.

If an abuser is court ordered into a FVIP, a Victim Liaison will contact the person abused to offer assistance to them.  Victim Liaisons are not representatives of immigration offices.  They are domestic violence victim advocates who are trained to identify different tactics of abuse, have knowledge of resources and can help you and your children be safe.  Click here to learn more about Family Violence Intervention Programs in Georgia.

What to Say to A Friend That’s Abusive

Maybe the abuser is your friend, a family member, co-worker or gym partner.  You’ve noticed that the abuser interrupts, criticizes, cheats, yells or scares the victim.  You hope that when they’re alone, it isn’t worse. The way the abuser treats the victim makes you uncomfortable, but you do not know what to say or do not want to make it worse.

What can you do?  Say something.  If you stay silent, your silence is the same as saying abuse is okay.  Because you care, you need to do something… before it is too late.

What Can You Say or Do?

Draw attention to it.

“Do you see the effect your bad words have?”
“Did you mean to be so rough? That’s not cool.”

Tell him what you think.

“I’m really worried about your partner’s safety.”
“I’m surprised to see you act that way.  You’re better than that.”
“I care about you, but I won’t tolerate it if you abuse your partner.”
“This makes me really uncomfortable.  It’s not right.”

Express ideas about loving behavior.

“Loving someone doesn’t mean abusing them.”
“Love is not abuse.”

Offer suggestions or solutions.

“People should never hit or threaten the people they love.”
“Kids learn from their parents.  Is this how you want your kids to treat others?”
“How would you feel if your child chose someone who acted like this?”
“Call me if you feel like you’re losing control.”
“Maybe you should try counseling by yourself to figure out what’s behind your controlling behavior.”

If the abuser’s  behavior is criminal, mention it.

“Domestic violence is a crime.  You could be arrested for this.”
“You could end up in jail if you don’t find a way to deal with your desire to gain and maintain control.  Then what would happen to you and your family?”

Important Conversations

The abuser may not listen and may feel angry, deny the abuse, ignore you or make excuses.  A common response is to blame the victim, but there is no excuse for abuse.  Even if the conversation is uncomfortable, it is important to communicate that abuse is never okay.  Since abusing a partner is a choice, abusers can learn how to make the choice not to abuse again.  There is professional help that gives abusers an opportunity to learn about why they use power and control to abuse their partner and learn new behaviors.

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