A randomized controlled trial of restorative justice-informed treatment for domestic violence crimes

Linda G. Mills, Briana Barocas, Robert P. Butters, Barak Ariel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent innovation in domestic violence (DV) treatment suggests that when a batterer intervention programme (BIP) is combined with clinical elements, including motivational or readiness to change strategies, subsequent incidents of violence can be reduced. Prompted by previous research on restorative justice in reducing recidivism in crimes other than DV, a randomized controlled trial in Utah, USA, compared a typical BIP with one that included restorative justice-informed treatment, called circles of peace (CP). The findings reveal that the ‘hybrid’ BIP-plus-CP resulted in statistically significant reductions in both new arrests (53%) and crime severity scores (52%) for all offences, including DV, over a 24-month period. We conclude that a hybrid BIP-plus-CP programme should be considered as a viable treatment option for DV offenders. Implications for DV victims are discussed, as are the study’s limitations, including the fact that some elements typical of restorative justice programmes could not be attained in this DV context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1294
Number of pages11
JournalNature human behaviour
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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