The El Dorado County District Attorney’s office confirmed that the male participants who graduated from The Center for Violence-Free Relationships’ batterers intervention program in 2008, who resided in El Dorado County, did not get prosecuted for any domestic violence charges after five years. This means that there was 0 percent recidivism after a five-year follow-up, the lowest recidivism known for a batter intervention program to date.
The Sonoma County and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s offices also assisted in confirming the 0 percent recidivism (where it was found that participants resided in these counties when they picked up their initial domestic violence charges).
Apparently, the findings were found in the same manner that the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs used in collecting their data. The DAIP (which uses the well-known Duluth Model) had the lowest recidivism rates prior to this discovery.
“This is stunning,” said Eddie Zacapa, who was The Center’s Positive Solutions Coordinator at the time of the discovery. “This is very compelling because the lowest recidivism prior to this was 40 percent after a five-year period. To be a part of this is historic and brings hope to our community that we can end domestic violence. I am so proud of all the people who were a part of making this happen.”
The DAIP has done two studies where they tracked graduates from their program. In one study they found that 40 percent picked up a new domestic violence prosecution after five years. In the second study they found that 32 percent did not reoffend over eight years. The national average according to the Washington Center for Court Research indicates that 45 percent of all DV offenders commit another domestic violence crime within five years.
Zacapa, who wrote the batterers’ intervention curriculum that is still being used at The Center, also trained the facilitators at The Center in Nonviolent Communication. Nonviolent Communication was founded by Marshall Rosenberg 40 years ago and is being used all over the world.
“I am committed to sharing with other programs and counties what I believe contributed to these statistics,” Zacapa said.
Zacapa, who is currently providing workshops in El Dorado County with Life Enriching Communication, is in the process of writing a book on how to create a successful batterers’ intervention program.