The Harbor House Domestic Violence Intervention Program aims to end domestic violence in Northeast Wisconsin by holding domestic abuse offenders accountable, supporting victim safety and empowerment, and building a collaborative community of compassionate, well-informed domestic abuse advocates.
Holding Offenders Accountable
In order to ensure domestic violence offenders are held accountable for their actions, we provide offender assessments, education, and monitoring.
The Harbor House Domestic Violence Intervention Program is certified through the Wisconsin Batterer Treatment Providers Association. We provide domestic violence and anger management assessments to offenders in Outagamie and Calumet counties who are arrested or referred to our program. Referrals come from a variety of sources including the District Attorney’s Office, Probation and Parole Office, Child Protective Services, mental health services, family court, and local judges.
Assessments take about an hour and touch on many different aspects of the offender’s life including past and current relationships, family history, experience with alcohol and other drug abuse, medical history, mental health, and more. We also assess the offender’s potential lethality by examining risk factors such as their history of suicide and depression, previous threats to kill, former stalking behavior, past use of weapons, history of sexual violence, violation of protection orders, and prior criminal behavior. Our number one priority – beyond any other – is to prevent future homicides from happening.
Once an offender assessment is complete, the Intervention Coordinator will make one or more recommendations. These may include domestic violence education groups, individual counseling, anger management, alcohol or drug abuse counseling, parenting classes, screening for depression, medical or psychological evaluations, or referrals to Veterans Assistance or a mental health provider for PTSD evaluation.
In addition to conducting offender assessments, Harbor House also provides offender education in the form of victim impact panels and domestic violence education groups.
Victim Impact Panels
During victim impact panels, survivors of domestic violence share stories about how family members (including children) were killed as a result of domestic violence. Offenders learn how their behavior negatively affects family, friends, and the community in general. Victim impact panels are also essential to aiding survivors in the healing process.
Domestic Violence Education Groups
Domestic violence education groups i meet two hours per week for 26 weeks. During this time, offenders learn about the traumatic effects of domestic abuse, explore how their actions have negatively impacted friends and family members, learn anger management techniques, and more. The longer timeline also enhances the safety of domestic abuse victims.
In order to ensure program effectiveness, Intervention Coordinators communicate with abuse victims, advocates, the courts system, law enforcement, child protective services, and corrections officers to ensure that offenders complete programming as required. This includes providing weekly updates of attendance, payment, and participation in domestic violence education groups to referring agencies.
Community Collaboration & Networking
At Harbor House, we understand the profound impact that domestic violence has on our community. We believe it will take the entire community working in unison to end the generational cycle of abuse. Through our participation in various community efforts, we’re working to build a community that holds offenders accountable and keeps victims safe.
Domestic Violence Intervention Team
Formed in 1986, the Outagamie County Domestic Violence Intervention Team helps hold batterers accountable for their abusive behavior, promotes the safety of domestic abuse victims, and works to build a coordinated community response to domestic abuse. Our Intervention Coordinator meets monthly with members from various county agencies to discuss domestic violence issues, build strong collaborative relationships with fellow advocates, and enhance the safety of abuse victims, police officers, and other community members. Two of the most significant protocols implemented by the Domestic Violence Intervention Team are Fast Track Prosecution and the Red Flag List.
Fast Track Prosecution
Fast Track Prosecution ensures that first-time domestic violence offenders are court ordered into Harbor House’s Domestic Violence Intervention Program in order to receive offender education as quickly as possible. This process not only educates the offender, but also enhances the safety and security of the victim.
Red Flag List
The Red Flag List takes an interagency approach to homicide prevention in Outagamie County. Updated monthly by a review team, this confidential list of high-risk domestic violence offenders receives referrals from a variety of sources including the District Attorney’s Office, probation and parole agents, domestic violence advocates, child protection caseworkers, and law enforcement officers. The referral form considers numerous risk factors and lethality indicators that serve as predictors of future violence towards others. It is our hope that with more information and awareness of predictable lethality indicators, we can prevent future homicides.
Other Community Collaborations
In addition to collaborating on the Outagamie County Domestic Violence Intervention Team, our Intervention Program Coordinator also participates as a member of the Calumet County Coordinated Community Response Team and the Oneida Coordinated Community Response Team. Like the Domestic Violence Intervention Team, these two teams serve their respective communities by working to improve community response to domestic violence and sexual assault in order to ensure victim safety and offender accountability.
iMen’s domestic violence education groups are not held at Harbor House.