Perpetrators of domestic violence need help to break the cycle of abuse and alter their behavior in future relationships because those patterns of behavior can affect everyone an abuser interacts with, according to local counselors who work with victims and perpetrators.
Some organizations offer counseling and behavioral services that cater to victims separately from abusers to stop the cycle of domestic violence, said Marc Nichols, clinical director of the Center For Life Skills Development. The center offers a number of services for those who are victims of, or who have been arrested for domestic violence.
Most of the people who go through the center's six to nine-month domestic violence counseling programs are referred from court as part of a sentence or a diversion program, he said.
"When they come to us we set up an interview," Nichols said. "We look at all aspects of their life and then at the end of the session we determine whether individual or group counseling is the best approach."
The center tries to hold abusers accountable for their actions while treating them with respect, said Dorothy Poczulp, a counselor and domestic violence coordinator for the Center for Life Skills Development.
"We're setting a stage for modeling what we expect from them and holding them accountable," she said. "If you don't respect yourself, you probably don't have a way of showing respect for others."
The up side of the counseling process is that people can change, Nichols and Poczulp said.