Batterer’s Classes and Infliction of Injury

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Batterer’s Classes and Infliction of Injury

Infliction of injury, more commonly called “spousal abuse,” is a California domestic violence crime that applies to intimate partners. These partners may be heterosexual or homosexual and married, divorced, or currently or formerly cohabiting, or have children together.

If an individual willfully inflicts any injury, no matter how minor, upon the body of an intimate partner, he or she can be charged with a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $6,000. This charge can be brought against a defendant even if he or she barely touched the intimate partner.

In California, when a defendant is convicted on an infliction of injury charge, he or she will be sentenced to a batterer’s class as a condition of probation. These classes are either exclusively male or female and are sensitive to culture, ethnicity and sexual orientation. At minimum, the offender must attend a two-hour class once a week for a year.

These classes are geared towards people who need treatment to help manage their anger and violent outbreaks. With respect to abusers, the purpose of counseling is to help them learn to walk away from potentially explosive situations without resorting to violence. To accomplish this, counselors encourage the abusers to examine their lives to better understand the reasons why they succumb to violent outbursts. If successful, the batterer learns that he or she cannot control his or her relationships through violence.

More specifically, the goal of the batterer’s class is to end domestic abuse. California has established guidelines that each class must follow in order to ensure that abusers receive the same education and counseling no matter where they live. The issues that must be addressed in every class include gender roles, socialization, the nature of violence, the dynamics of power and control, and the effects of abuse on children and others.

Within these categories, counselors discuss various forms of abuse including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, economic manipulation or domination, property destruction, terrorist threats, and acts that jeopardize the wellbeing and safety of children and other family members or friends. The program addresses effective ways to communicate in an intimate relationship as an alternative to violent expression, and will help the batterer to create equality within the relationship.

The instructors confront their students by refuting the individual batterer’s justifications for his or her use of violence within the relationship. They hope to eliminate and reshape all beliefs, values, behaviors and language that abusers use to maintain power over their intimate partners. As a result, the classes focus on the belief systems that promote the use of intimidation, violence and coercion against domestic partners and children, and the instructors, in turn, try to dispel those beliefs. Discussions where the batterer tries to either blame the victim for the violence or in any other way tries to diminish his or her responsibility for the violence are inappropriate and discouraged by the class leaders. Instead, the class leaders facilitate discussions that include topics such as the destructive impact that violence has on self-esteem and affection, and the impact that battering has on children who are victims and witnesses of intimate partner abuse. Batterers are also taught specific techniques for achieving non-abusive, non-controlling attitudes and behaviors.

An infliction of injury charge is a serious matter with serious consequences. Enrollment and attendance in a batterer’s class is only a small portion of a convicted defendant’s probationary requirements, but it can be one of the most beneficial if the batterer takes it to heart. The caring criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm can help navigate probationary terms with ease and understanding. The attorneys know how to connect their clients with batterer’s programs throughout California, and with their care and compassion, will make this difficult time a little easier. For questions about an infliction of injury charge, about a batterer’s class, or about any other legal matter, click here for a free consultation.