Safe Homes, Safe Communities
Beliefs and Skills for Domestic Peace
Our partner abuse intervention program (PAIP), which is called Beliefs and Skills for Domestic Peace is the heart of our work at the Center and is grounded in two core beliefs based on more than a decade of working with individuals who have abused an intimate partner:
- Most people are not abusive by nature
- Those who have chosen to abuse can change
Who We Serve
The majority of those referred to the program are mandated to participate by the Adult Probation and Social Service Departments of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Others are referred through such sources as: courts in surrounding suburban communities; child welfare agencies including DCFS; social service agencies; private practitioners; and attorneys. We also receive self-referrals from individuals who believe they have been abusive to an intimate partner and are seeking help to stop this behavior.
Of those completing an initial screening in FY 2015:
- 81% were African American and 11% were Hispanic
- 47% were between the ages of 18-29 and 26% were between the ages of 30-39
- 53% were unemployed and 16% held part-time jobs
- 83% had children
How the Program Works
In accordance with the Partner Abuse Intervention Protocol approved by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Beliefs & Skills program offers a comprehensive curriculum developed in consultation with our victim services agency partners. Following a strengths-based, trauma-informed individualized assessment that includes identifying the need for collateral services, participants complete an orientation and are then placed in an intervention group, which meets for a minimum of 24 consecutive weeks.
During the weekly two-hour sessions, led by specially trained staff, program participants explore the nature of abuse and violence and its consequences to self, partners, children, and community. They also share and examine the beliefs - some of which are rooted in societal views that promote oppression, discrimination and abuse of women by intimate partners - which they have used to justify their violent behavior. They learn to take responsibility for their actions and work to make changes that foster safety for their partners, their children, and themselves. This is reinforced through the group process as participants confront individual member's denial or minimization of their abusive behavior, encourage personal accountability, and support one another in their personal change efforts.
Groups are also instrumental in helping participants develop greater empathy and practice positive communication skills essential for creating healthier relationships with intimate partners. And, research shows that those who successfully complete a PAIP program are less likely to abuse again which leads to safer homes and communities.
Striving towards peaceful homes and communities
Our primary goal is safety - for victims, their children, and program participants. In working toward a goal of domestic peace, we encourage participants to develop a vision of what cooperating with an intimate partner on an equal basis might empower them to achieve in both their family life and their community.