PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY FOR CHANGING TOMORROW (PACT)
Personal Accountability for Changing Tomorrow (PACT) is a batterer accountability program for men who perpetrate violence towards their partners. PACT works to teach and foster non-abusive and non-controlling behavior.
PACT is a program that batterers attend—some voluntarily, some under court order—to educate and rehabilitate the batterer. The goal of PACT is to change offenders thinking and behavior with the result that offenders are held accountable and victim safety is enhanced and to decrease the likelihood of further violence. An important feature of PACT is that the program is designed to first promote survivor safety, which is achieved through accountability. All offender participants must sign a waiver of confidentiality to permit disclosure of participation to survivors, probation, and the courts, as needed. This assists PACT’s accountability to survivors by ensuring that survivors have information needed to make informed decisions through sharing information with courts and probation.
The main purpose of PACT is to assist batterers in learning skills for nonviolence. Programs are designed to teach offenders to monitor their actions and to understand their feelings when they become violent, such as anger, inadequacy, jealousy, or the need to control. Programs will often help offenders understand the root of their impulses and violent habits.
Importantly, programs emphasize that while a batterer may feel angry or upset, he remains responsible for his actions. His use of violence or other forms of abuse is a personal choice.
Facilitators in PACT often challenge men about their negative or patriarchal attitudes and beliefs, willingness to accept or support abusive behaviors, and their denials of abuse. This practice of challenging thinking and behavior helps men examine the origins of their beliefs and actions with the group and to take responsibility for the abuse.
Coordinated Community Response
Studies have shown that domestic violence perpetrators are often more likely to cease abusive behavior when members of the community combine efforts to protect victims and hold those who batter responsible for their actions. This strategy is incorporated into most batterer intervention programs, and it works first by developing and sharing a common understanding of domestic violence and then by targeting and changing those social norms that allow for continued domestic violence. Members of the community, such as law enforcement officers, health care providers, clergy, and the media, coordinate to create a system that protects victims right away and provides them with services as needed. Participants in this intervention work with the criminal justice system not only to protect victims but also to change the ideas and attitudes that may help contribute to domestic violence in the community. Research has found that when individuals who batter their partners are held accountable by the community, they may be more likely to change their behavior.
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