Community-Informed Relationship Violence Intervention in a High-Stress, Low-Income Urban Context

Christopher M. Murphy, Tara N. Richards, Lisa J. Nitsch, Angelique Green-Manning, Ann Marie Brokmeier, Adam D. LaMotte, Charvonne N. Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the House of Ruth Maryland’s Gateway Project, a community-informed and oppression-sensitive relationship violence intervention program (RVIP; commonly labeled “batterer intervention”), designed for a predominantly low-income, racial minority population residing in a high-stress urban context. Method: Propensity score matching with data on 744 male program participants (89% Black; 59% unemployed; 76% on probation) was used to compare recidivism rates for those who did, and did not, complete the intervention program. The propensity score matching created comparison groups (n = 216 per group) with very similar distributions on 28 balancing factors. Results: During the year after program enrollment, program completers had significantly lower frequency of rearrest for all criminal offenses, d = 0.16, p =.018 and marginally lower frequency of violent offenses, d = 0.12, p =.075 than matched noncompleters. No treatment effect was identified for partner-abuse-related legal involvements, d = 0.06, p =.365. Secondary analyses controlling for propensity score in the full sample yielded similar results, and analyses of session attendance as a continuous variable found additional evidence of a significant program effect on violent offenses in the matched sample. Conclusions: In contrast to a carefully matched sample of program noncompleters, men who completed this 28-session intervention, which adapts the traditional RVIP focus on power and control to address the life context of participants who experience systemic oppression, discrimination, economic distress, and community violence, had lower overall involvement with the criminal justice system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021


  • intimate partner violence
  • offender treatment
  • racism
  • recidivism
  • systemic oppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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