In all cases where there is a conviction on a domestic violence charge, the court is required by law to order the defendant to enroll in a State Certified Domestic Violence Perpetrators Program. The program must comply with the following sections of the Washington Administrative Code:
- WAC 388-60-0045 Treatment Focus
- WAC 388-60-0075 Treatment Modality
- WAC 388-60-0065-0305 Program policies and procedures
- WAC 388-60-0315-0395 Treatment Staff qualifications
- WAC 388-60-0405 Orientation and continuing professional education requirements
- WAC 388-60-0425 Knowledge of law and justice system practices
- WAC 388-60-0455 Cooperation with domestic violence victim programs
Put more simply, the program must be designed to assist perpetrators of domestic violence in stopping all violent and threatening behaviors and to be non-abusive and non-threatening in their relationships while doing everything in their power to ensure the safety of the victim.
The program requires that the participants engage in 26 weekly group therapy sessions followed by six monthly group therapy sessions. The curriculum in these sessions addresses belief systems that support violence, power and control over intimate partners/family members; definitions and forms of abuse; the impact of abuse on children; the acceptance and acknowledgment of the fact that the perpetrator holds the sole responsibility for the abuse; accountability for the damage caused by violence; techniques for living a life that is free of abuse and control over others; understanding of the negative legal and social consequences of abuse; the importance of meeting our obligations to others; the development of a responsibility plan; education on the impact of cultural dynamics and a clear presentation of Washington State law and practice regarding domestic compliance.
In order to successfully complete a state certified course the attendance requirements must be met, the participant must be paid in full, there must be a complete cessation of violence, threats of violence and other abusive or controlling conduct, and all other required evaluations and treatment such as alcohol and drug, mental health, and medical, must be completed.
In the event that a resolution is reached prior to trial, some or all of this treatment program may still be required under a plea bargain or a stipulated order of continuance. Ultimately it is essential that you receive the best counsel available so that the undertaking of this costly and time consuming process is done in accordance with the law and your personal best interests.