Probation officers often have the most contact with domestic violence offenders and play an important role in assessing the context of the offender’s violent behavior and recommending appropriate sanctions to the court. Their recommendations can advance or impede both safety and accountability outcomes for the victim and the assailant.

However, there is often limited training for probation officers on how to operationalize victim safety and community intervention. As a result, they may fail to recognize the impact their practices have on victim safety, or to understand how the messages they send with every action and inaction either condone or denounce violence.

James E. Henderson Jr., MSW, an experienced probation officer and national trainer on IPV cases, is available to conduct trainings on the following topics:

  • Policies and protocols that enhance practice, including, but not limited to: Probation Group Meetings; weekly reports from batterer intervention programs; and real time web-based attendance reporting from substance abuse programs, batterer programs and drug/alcohol testing results.
  • The role of probation officers in a Coordinated Community Response (CCR). Participants will learn how to operationalize offender accountability using a collaborative community response on a line staff level. They will identify the expertise of community members who can assist in assailant monitoring. Participants will expand their knowledge base of community partners who can aid in enhancing victim autonomy, well-being, personal empowerment, and safety.
  • Effective interviews with domestic violence offenders and victims. Henderson has endeavored to change the focus of the victim interview from that of “information gatherer” to that of “information provider”. Particular attention will be given to victim-sensitive interviewing, safety planning and the need for confidentiality policies.
  • The unidentified victim on probation; how to assist her in addressing the domestic violence in her life; and, how to avoid inadvertently empowering her abuser and increasing her risk.

A limited number of trainings for jurisdictions that receive OVW grants can be provided at no cost. When these funds are expended, trainings can be provided if the jurisdiction covers travel and meeting expenses.