Moving Forward is a DPH-certified batterer intervention program. We work with mostly men and a small percentage of women who have used physical, emotional, verbal, economic or sexual abuse as a means to control their partners. During the program, clients are supported and challenged to take full responsibility for their behavior. They are taught how to recognize and change their behavior and develop conflict resolution and healthy communication skills to sustain relationships without violence.
Our approach, termed “Compassionate confrontation,” was developed in 1989 when this program was part of the Men’s Resource Center of Western Massachusetts. We believe that it is important to raise issues affecting men in our community, many of whom are not just partners or husbands, but also the fathers of the children in our community. All too often, men’s issues are not addressed except to highlight their failures. As a result, we believe all men who are abusive or controlling in their relationships are good people with bad behaviors. This distinction is important in terms of addressing the shame that often accompanies abusive behavior.
Our perspective on domestic abuse is that it is more than an “anger problem” – it is rooted in a pattern of using of power and control in a relationships. People with Anger Management problems have trouble with everyone in the community, and the problem has several causes. Whereas, people who are abusive only to an intimate partner have a domestic violence problem. Sometimes individuals can have both an Anger Management and a Domestic violence problem. In addition to the MOVE groups, The Moving Forward program also offers Anger Management and Non-Violent Communication (NVC) classes geared towards improving people’s capacity for positive behavior, building healthy relationships and repairing family systems when possible.
There are many reasons why people use control or abuse in relationships. Our job is to evaluate the function of the behavior and develop goals with each individual to help them become aware and begin to change these negative patterns. There is a small percentage of individuals whose abusive behavior is so severe that they are more likely to be at risk for causing serious bodily harm or homicide. As part of the program, we routinely evaluate the criteria for high-risk clients and may recommend at any point in the program that the individual get a complete evaluation to determine risk.
As a community, we must act to provide necessary teaching of conflict resolution, communication and healthy relationships. Until then, the human is bound to repeat the past. Trauma and abuse are cyclical in nature and get worse and more frequent over time. The only way to end it is to break the cycle of violence and get help. Not just for victims, but also for perpetrators. We offer him hope that real change is possible.
Please click here for information about specific Moving Forward programs.