22 Reasons You Need To Take Domestic Violence Classes
Updated June 25, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Victims of domestic violence can gain safety and independence by learning about this form of abuse within a relationship. Violent or potentially violent partners may not believe they can benefit from domestic violence training, though. The truth is that there are many reasons why the classes can help them, too.
What Are Domestic Violence Classes?
Domestic violence intervention programs are available for people who do not have the skills required for a healthy relationship. These classes can teach you those skills. They can also help you deal with your unique challenges in overcoming your patterns of abuse.
Although anyone can abuse someone else, men are more likely to abuse their partners than women. You might find online classes for domestic violence and abuse, or you may attend physical classes. If you go to domestic violence training, you might be in classes with men and even women. People of all socio-economic classes, races, and age groups may come together to learn how to stop being abusive.
Why You Need To Take Them
Often, domestic violence BIP classes are required when an abuser is charged with domestic violence. BIP stands for “Batterer’s Intervention Program” and is a program of classes that run for anything from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. The court can order you to take the classes to avoid going to jail or when you're in jail. You can also attend domestic violence BIP classes voluntarily - you do not have to be sent after being charged. Perhaps you have recognised the abusive behavior in yourself, and want to address it before it gets worse. If you feel that you would rather not physically attend classes, perhaps taking classes online would be the best option for you.
Court ordered domestic violence classes might require you to go for a certain period. The court order might require that you physically attend, rather than taking classes online. Many people drop out as soon as they can. However, there are many very good reasons to continue for the long haul.
- To Minimize Legal Issues
Being an abuser comes with a hefty price tag. One cost is the money, time, and aggravation of dealing with legal problems that come up because of your unhealthy patterns of interacting with others. As you learn new ways of communicating and managing conflict, your trouble with the court will likely decrease.
- To Protect Your Job Success
You may be very successful in your career, but if you behave abusively to others, you could lose your job and stunt your career. Even if your job is the most important thing in your life, you can't always count on your co-workers and supervisors looking the other way.
The current social climate of calling out and often firing employees for harassment and abuse of others on or off the job is a good thing, especially for abused women. However, for you as an abuser, it can spell the ruin of your career.
- Because You Can Have a Good Life, Too
There's a reason you're an abuser, and it isn't because it gives you the best possible life. There could be a number of different reasons you have abused a person, such as having been abused as a child or learned the behavior from friends or family. Alcohol or substance abuse or addiction can escalate abuse, too. Or perhaps you have turned to drugs or alcohol after becoming aware of what is happening in your relationship.
Physical violence does not really help anyone, not even the person who is hurting their partner. That doesn't mean you should accept that behavior. It does mean that you can realize that violence isn't doing you any good in the long run. The good news is that once you learn to manage your feelings and have healthy relationships, you can live a much better, more satisfying life.
- Because You Can Have Healthy, Loving Relationships
You probably thought your relationship was wonderful at first. Even now, you might not understand what's so wrong with it. Domestic violence programs aim to teach you what went wrong and what is still wrong, so you can learn what a healthy relationship looks like. You can also learn the skills you need to have a relationship that's loving in the best possible sense.
- To Learn How To Manage Your Emotions
People who are physically violent are very good at controlling someone else. When it comes to controlling your own emotions, you may not be as effective. We often allow ourselves to believe we can't do anything about our actions when our emotions are too powerful. The truth is that you can learn to manage your emotions so that you can work toward a happier, more stable life.
- To Learn Healthy Communication
Unhealthy communication styles are extremely common, not only for abusers but also for the abused and for others who aren't in abusive relationships. What you need to remember is that it is possible to learn a better way to express your feelings and be heard. In domestic violence classes, you can begin to learn communication skills you can use in every facet of your life.
- To See The Bigger Picture
The CDC as well as other organizations have been developing new domestic violence programs recently. Their goal is to approach the problem of domestic violence from many different angles and with a variety of interventions. The programs are designed to help you see the enormity and complexity of the problem so that you can more fully understand what it's about and how you might be able to change.
- To Find New Meaning In Life
According to existential theory, humans face several givens, such as freedom and responsibility, death, isolation, and meaninglessness. How we deal with the truth of these givens can help us live a more satisfying life. We have an innate need to find meaning.
One thing you can gain from taking domestic violence classes is that you can find meaning through becoming a better person. You can live peacefully with others, have more control over your actions, and contribute to society as a whole.
- So You Can Teach Your Children Healthy Behaviors
The natural tendency of most parents is to help their children live a better life. Even many abusers want the best for their offspring. To give them the best, though, you need to help them reach their own highest potential. In classes for domestic violence, you can learn what you need to teach your children about emotions, behaviors, communication, and relationships. It may also help to take parenting classes so that you can learn how to give your children the best start in life. You could take parenting classes online or find classes nearby.
- To Get Past Your Childhood Pain
Not all people who had childhood pain turn it into a reason to abuse someone else. Not all abusers have difficult childhoods, either. Yet, if you are an abuser who had childhood pain, poverty, or were abused yourself, you're likely to pass that hurt on to your partner and children.
Domestic violence classes give you a chance to deal with childhood trauma and adversity. The goal is not to think about the past as an excuse to be physically violent. Instead, it's to resolve problems that are holding you back from having healthy relationships. Parenting classes will also help you to work out the best way to raise your children, but it is important to take domestic violence classes to help you resolve your own childhood pain.
- To Overcome Mental And Emotional Problems
For many domestic abusers, mental problems like depression and anxiety play a part in the dysfunction that leads to violence. While you're in a domestic violence intervention program, you might address these problems directly or at least recognize that you need to get additional help from a counselor or doctor. You might also address these problems in anger management classes.
- To Find Peace With Who You Can Be
If you're physically violent with your partner, you tell them by your actions that they aren't good enough. What are you telling yourself, though? If you really understood your value as a human being, you would more likely see their value, too.
Healthy self-esteem gives you the peace of mind to view others as different but not a threat to your self-concept. The classes aren't designed to make you hate yourself. Far from it! They're designed to help you respect your own potential for good. That's important if you want to work towards health and happiness for you as well as those you interact with. You have hurt your partner in the past but don't need to keep doing so.
- To Open The Door To Equal Relationships
The most satisfying relationships are between equals. Domestic violence training teaches you to recognize the strengths and ability of others as well as your own. You learn to view yourself and your partner or former partner as equals who can work out problems together.
- Because There's A Lot to Learn
You could study very hard and take opportunities to practice the skills you learned on your own. The problem with this is that there's a lot of junk information to sort through. Also, you may not find information on all the skills you'll need to develop. For most people, there's just too much to learn to do it efficiently on their own. The classes bring together all the information and resources you need to start on the right path. If you are taking classes online, it may be useful to supplement these by attending physical classes too, so that you are meeting other people who understand what you are going through. Online classes will give you lots of information and sometimes it can help to have someone to help you work through the information, as well as talking through your experiences. If you would rather only take online classes, perhaps consider speaking to an online counselor as well.
- To Understand And Accept The Consequences Of Your Actions
Understanding what you've done to your partner and how it has impacted their life can help you begin to see why you need to change the way you behave and interact with others. You also face your own consequences of the violent behaviors you've chosen. Once you accept the fact that you caused pain to yourself and others, you can begin to understand how it's possible to change.
- To Realize You Have The Power To Not Abuse
Abuse is a choice. Physical violence is a choice. Domestic violence classes help you realize that you do have control over your behavior, your thought patterns, and the way you manage your emotions. You have the power to stop abusing, and the classes can help you learn how to do it.
- To See Through Your Controlling Behaviors
Abusers tend to use controlling behaviors to keep their partner in line. Perhaps surprisingly, many abusers don't realize this. They may think that they're behaving that way for their partner's own good. They may tell themselves that they're trying to keep the family together. No matter what excuse you give for controlling others through violence, you can't change until you understand that it's just a flimsy excuse. The classes can help you understand yourself better and see your controlling behaviors for what they are.
- To Change The Way You Respond To Your Partner Or Former Partner
You might be in a domestic violence program after your partner got away from the violence you subjected them to. If so, you might still need to interact with them, especially if you have children together. On the other hand, if you're still in the relationship, you definitely need to learn new ways to respond to your partner. The classes can help you learn and practice new ways of responding.
- To Learn How To Behave With Respect, Kindness, And Support
You might believe that you respect your partner, but if you're being abusive, you're proving that you don't. Through the classes, you can learn why and how to respect your partner and treat them with kindness. You can learn how to consider their needs and offer your support in a more helpful way.
- To Learn How To Manage All Your Conflicts More Effectively
When you learn how to manage the conflicts in your romantic relationship, you also learn how to use those skills in other areas of your life. You can stop getting into shouting matches with your friends. You can stop arguing incessantly with your employer or supervisor. You can deal with conflicts at work directly rather than being aggressive or passive-aggressive. You don't do it by ignoring the way you feel, but by acknowledging your feelings along with the feelings of others in a calm, rational way.
- To Make Amends
Once you've been physically violent with a partner, you may feel very bad about yourself. You may have deep remorse for what you've done. Yet, as long as you keep abusing them, the pain is going to continue for both of you.
One thing that can help your partner is to admit directly to your partner how you've hurt them. You can't undo the abuse simply by apologizing. Still, the apology is necessary. It helps them feel understood, respected, and safe in the world if you apologize sincerely without expecting anything of them. For you, it's also important because it allows you to mark an end to your abuse and move on. Taking domestic violence classes can help to prevent you from hurting your partner again.
- To Begin The Long Process Of Change
Transforming yourself from a violent abuser to a kind and respectful partner doesn't happen in a flash. It takes a very long time. You'll never really be finished with this project, but the farther you travel on a positive path, the healthier you'll be. Domestic violence classes are only the beginning, but they're a good beginning that can set the tone for the rest of your journey.
Are You Ready For Change?
If you're interested in gaining all the benefits of being in domestic violence classes, you might be asking, "Where can I find domestic violence classes near me?" If money is an issue, your question instead might be "Are there free domestic violence classes near me?"
One thing you'll need to consider is whether you're required by a court to take the classes. Many of the classes available in local areas are focused on getting abusers certified for meeting this requirement. So, it's important that you find a class that's actually helpful for you.
As for free classes, you might be able to find a church or other community organization that offers free classes. You can also get help in a free domestic violence group.
Another option for ending your violent behavior and learning healthy relationship skills is to talk to a licensed counselor online at ReGain.us. Therapy is private, convenient, and affordable. You might also be able to find online classes for anger management or domestic violence. You might feel more at ease with taking classes online - perhaps you feel ashamed of what you have done and do not feel ready to meet with other people and talk about it yet. Maybe you will start by taking classes online and attend physical classes later. Online classes are a great way to start, and even if you choose to only take classes online, you will still learn how to manage your behavior and find ways to prevent violence.
No matter which type of classes you end up choosing, the fact that you're exploring these options is a positive step in the right direction. With the right kind of help for you, you can become a stronger, more stable, happier person with the tools and resources to live up to your highest potential.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What are five types of violence?
Domestic violence can take many forms, and often abuse falls into one of the following categories:
- What happens if you don't take a court ordered class?
It depends on your specific situation, but you could be arrested and face going to jail.
It is likely that if you have a valid reason for not attending, you will be given more time to attend classes. Failure to take a court ordered class could affect the custody of your children if you have them.
Check with an attorney or the court to find out if you are eligible to take online classes or if your classes must be in person.
- What court hears domestic violence cases?
Many domestic violence cases will be heard in District Courts or Family Courts, but there are also specialized Domestic Violence courts, which are designed to improve the safety of the victims and which have more consistent ruling and procedures.
- Does domestic violence stay on your record?
Yes, but in some cases it may be removed (or “expunged”) from your criminal record. This depends on the severity of the violence, on your own criminal record, and the laws of the State in which you live.
- What happens if you lose custody over your child?
The judge might order that custody of your child is handed over to the child’s other parent, or a guardian. You might no longer be able to see your child, and you might have lost legal custody of him or her, too.
You should do everything the court asks you to, including attending domestic violence classes, and you should be patient. You can ask for an evaluation once you have completed court ordered classes. It may help your case to take parenting classes too - you could take classes online or attend classes in your local area.
- What happens if you don't complete court ordered anger management?
You will likely be asked to attend a court hearing so that you can tell the court why you did not finish the course. Your sentence could be extended to give you more time to complete the course, but if you fail to complete it, you could face jail time.