A View from the Bench: Understanding Judicial Decision Making as It Relates to Batterers Intervention and Prevention Programs

A View from the Bench: Understanding Judicial Decision Making as It Relates to Batterers Intervention and Prevention Programs
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2020-03-18
Unit 1Slide Deck: A View from the Bench
Unit 2Workbook: A View from the Bench
Unit 3Recording: A View from the Bench

Domestic Violence isn’t just a matter of anger management. The motivation behind it is the abuser wanting to assert control in the relationship. With this in mind, intervention and prevention programs must be informed of the power dynamic issue to actually address the root of the problem.

To talk about how Dallas County is doing this are Dr. Jill Johansson-Love and Judge Brandon Birmingham. Dr. Love is a psychologist, probation officer, and the Interim Deputy Director of Dallas County Supervision and Corrections. She works on the forensic domestic violence risk assessment and the Felony Domestic Violence Court. Meanwhile, Judge Birmingham is the elected Judge of the 292nd Judicial District Court and is the presiding judge for the Felony Domestic Violence Court.

Points they explained in this session include:

  • The two types of violence and where domestic violence falls on these categories.
  • Dallas’ Batterers Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP).
    • What the program offers and its comparison with anger management programs.
    • The features and function of an effective BIP program.
    • An overview of the expected outcomes.
    • The typical critical topics to be included.
  • At the judicial side, the preparatory considerations in domestic violence cases.
    • The goals being accountability of the offender and community safety.
    • The various stakeholders involved and the key roles they play.
    • Establishing critical communication and action networks to effectively deal with the case as well as other situations that may stem from it.
    • Ensuring swift intervention through the networks fostered if needed.
  • The components of judicial decision-making for DV cases.
    • The fundamental rules when it comes to the court procedures and constitutional principles that are upheld in probation hearings.
    • Practical considerations that are essential to ensure that the court comes up with the correct decision based on all available information about the case.
    • The three types of violations that are taken into account and the four cornerstone violations that carry the most weight in court for DV cases.
    • Specific components that the judge consider when coming up with a decision.
    • The options that the court has if a violation is proven that puts into consideration upholding the goal of offender accountability and community safety.
  • The BIPP research: Identifying the challenges, essential components of the program, and its positive outcomes.

Questions raised by the audience were on:

  • Addressing both intimate partner violence and anger management.
  • The resources used for the webinar.
  • The need for further training of stakeholders on domestic violence.
  • How to best conduct BIPP and online options for it.
  • Components to consider in order to evaluate contrition.
  • Tracking progress and validating the success of the offenders who are enrolled in a BIP program.
  • Resources to deal with cultural and language differences.


Audience Comments

  • “Since I am new to the Domestic Violence Advocacy world it was great to hear how other agencies are handling DV cases (and should be). Currently, I work in two different Rural Communities that are not well versed on DV and not victim-centered although DV Cases happen often. I was also not fully aware of all BIPP offers. Great Webinar!” — Alyse
  • “The language of any public-serving agency can be daunting to understand so the presenter defining court procedures and processes was very helpful. Thank you.” — Wendy
  • “Very knowledgeable speakers. Excellent question and answer session. Thank you for your ‘Bench’ point of view!” — Roseann
  • I liked hearing what other jurisdictions are doing related to addressing DV cases.  –Catherine
  • “The importance of communication and action networks. Reminders that judges are doing the best with the information they have, thus it’s important to give detailed information, allowing judges to make better-informed decisions.” — Caitlin
  • “I think that the question and answer session in regards to an individual both having DV traits as well as anger issues was really helpful. Those two things definitely go hand in hand but they are also completely separate.” — Cierra
  • “As a revocation hearing judge, it was great to hear from other judges in the profession. I loved it.” — Evelyn
  • “I gained a better understanding of what a judge needs to make a fair decision, with regard to the original case as well as issues that come up after initial sentencing.” — Jenny
  • “I loved that a Judge is speaking out about the seriousness of DV.” — Susan
  • “DV cannot be handled by anger management alone, but rather by rigorous BIPP with evaluative measures. Also, the judge’s perspectives on elements of his decision-making. Very helpful.” — Joni
  • “The explanation of the difference between BIPP and Anger Management.” — Kevin
  • “I appreciate the webinar touching on the role of victim advocacy.” — Michael
  • “I found the explanation between why people should attend BIPP versus anger management if they are DV offenders to be especially helpful. I knew this, but felt this explanation was the clearest I have heard yet and feel more comfortable sharing that distinction now.  I am a community-based advocate and am not sure exactly about some of the questions asked. Overall this was an excellent webinar and I sincerely thank you all!” — Samantha


Additional Resources
4 years ago
After the Webinar: A View from the Bench. Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar presenters Judge Brandon Birmingham and Dr. Jill Johansson-Love answered a number of your qu […]
5 years ago
An Approach to High Lethality Domestic Violence Offenders: The Accountability Court Model
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5 years ago
DV Post Conviction: Responding to Victim Risk and Needs throughout Incarceration and Preparation for Offender Reentry
For most of us, stories of domestic violence involve two people in a relationship and turn of events […]
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Domestic Violence 101: What Justice Professionals Need to Understand about The Dynamics, Context & Roots of this Chronic Crime
Domestic violence is one of those crimes that used to be swept under the rug because of stigma. But […]
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Domestic Violence and Firearm Relinquishment: From Honor System to Actual Enforcement
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