Batterer’s Classes and Sexual Battery

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Batterer’s Classes and Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a California domestic violence offense that applies to intimate partners. California employs a broad definition of intimate partners – they may be heterosexual or homosexual, married, divorced, living together, have children in common, or be currently or formerly dating.

If a person touches an intimate partner against that person’s will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse, he or she may be charged with sexual battery. “Touching” can be any physical contact – however slight – whether done directly, through the clothing of the accused, or through the clothing of the accuser. Sexual battery can be charged even between partners involved in an ongoing, intimate relationship. Depending on the circumstances, the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony with penalties of up to one-year in jail or up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

In California, when a defendant is convicted on a sexual battery 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 themes 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 themes, 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 well-being and safety of children and other family members or friends. The program will address 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 teachers confront their students by refuting the individual batterer’s justifications for his or her use of violence within the relationship. The facilitators hope to eliminate and reshape all beliefs, values, behaviors and language that abusers use to maintain power over their intimate partners.

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.

California takes sexual battery very seriously. 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 offender takes it to heart. The caring criminal defense lawyers at the Kavinoky Law Firm know how to connect their clients with batterer’s programs throughout California and, with their compassion, will make this difficult time a little easier. A skilled attorney from the Kavinoky Law firm can answer questions about a sexual battery charge, about batterer’s classes, or about any other legal matter during a free consultation.