Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project (HAIPP)


This material is an undergraduate seminar prepared in 1993. Compiled by Simon Overall, Hamilton, New Zealand.


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Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Project (HAIPP) is an education programme for men convicted of assault in a domestic situation. It involves the offender being sentenced to a supervision order, and in that time being obliged to attend a 26 week course of; eliminating violence from their behaviour, education about relationships, and resolving conflicts. Also, identifying irrational beliefs, expectations of partners, attitudes to women and non-violent alternatives. This involves one meeting a week of two and a half hours duration. The curriculum of the course is illustrated by the two wheels, the `POWER AND CONTROL' wheel and the `EQUALITY' wheel. Three group meetings are allocated to each segment of the wheel. Thus the groups progress through both programmes over a period of twenty six weeks.


As well as programmes for men, HAIPP provides counselling and assistance for woman who are victims. This could best be described as victim empowerment. Sometimes both partners in a relationship will be attending HAIPP sessions, the woman by day and her partner in the evening.


The substantial sources for this presentation were interviews with Linda-Jane Norton, Administrator for HAIPP, and Neville Robertson, of the Psychology Department, University of Waikato. Neville has been commissioned by the Family Violence Prevention Coordinating Committee (FVPCC) to evaluate the programme.




Now that I have introduced you to the concept I would like to go through a more detailed examination of the HAIPP programme and the aims and philosophies which led to its inception. The history of police reaction to domestic violence was one of non intervention by the police, other than to defuse the immediate situation they are called to. Part of this is the legacy of concepts about an Englishman's home being his castle, that the autonomy of the domestic situation should not be interfered with, and reference to this can be found in a study by Pahl(1985) "Private Violence and Public Policy".


Pahl noted that "legal statute in theory, provides adequate redress and protection for women who are assaulted by men within the home, within marriage or marriage like relationships... yet still there is a yawning gap between abstract rights and actual remedies... the dominance of men over women is enhanced by legal non-intervention, as is the legitimacy of male violence." (Pahl 85 p111)


One of the features of the HAIPP programme is that the discretionary power of the police in respect of arrest in a domestic incident, is removed. This is a quote from a policeman speaking subsequent to his attendance at a domestic incident.


Police Constable said he had advised her to forget about it all and start worrying about the children.

                                                                (Pahl 85, p115).


Another element noted in the above research was the situation where the police would prepare a case for prosecution, only to have the victim withdraw the charges. That dependence on the part of the woman made her opt to continue living in a culture of violence in the home, rather than risk the ramifications of bringing an assault charge against her partner.




The original impetus for HAIPP came from the Family Violence Prevention Co-ordinating Committee (FVPCC), which was formed by groups in Wellington City. There was a sense that to provide refuges and other assistance for women and children was not enough, that that was providing assistance only, not protecting them or solving the problem. Instead they wanted to start a programme which co-ordinated the activities of different groups in one comprehensive programme; to make abusers accountable, and have a process of intervention and education to stop them abusing.


Hamilton was chosen to begin this because it had a demographic and social and ethnic mix that facilitated evaluation for the range of community structures found in NZ communities. Thus in white collar and blue collar proportions, Maori and pakeha, Hamilton was deemed a good mix. The original model used for HAIPP had been a programme in Duluth, a city in the USA.


Well in mid 1991 it began.




The HAIPP programme attempts to comprehensively address both elements in a domestic assault; that of violence by the offender, and dependence and vulnerability of the victim, by having a policy and programme for each. When the police are called to a domestic incident, if there is evidence of assault they are obliged to arrest the offender, they have no discretion about this, he is jailed, and not bailed until he has appeared before a sitting of the District Court. (This perception concerning the policy of automatic arrest if there is evidence of assault, is the `ideal' one, sanctioned by the philosophy and personnel of the HAIPP programme. It is not adhered to in all situations... through HAIPP's `inter-agency connection' HAIPP personnel have an ongoing dialogue with police and such issues as arrest are part of this dialogue).


A `crisis line' is maintained by HAIPP, with representatives on call who are summoned to any such incident by the police. When the offender is removed from the home, the representative from HAIPP, an `advocate' is what they are termed, will counsel the woman about what her rights are and what assistance is available to her. Perhaps access to a refuge or staying with friends or relatives. Also at this time I presume the HAIPP programme and what it might offer her or her partner are broached with the victim. If there is no evidence of assault, and hence no arrest, an advocate from HAIPP is still summoned by the police, to counsel the women and inform her of the services offered by HAIPP. The police will escort the man away from the home for a period to enable the advocate to talk to the partner.


When an offender is brought to court the ideal progression from HAIPP's point of view, is that, upon conviction, he be sentenced to a nine month Supervision order, administered by what used to be called the Probhation Service, but is now Community Corrections. Currently about ninety percent of offenders are referred to HAIPP. The reason why nine months is considered an optimum time is that six months is necessary for the development of the course, with several weeks leeway in which absenteeism and reservation or obstructionism by the offender can be negotiated or dealt with.


It begins with two induction meetings where the course is explained to the client, then he is asked to sign a contract about attendance and other matters. In some respects the contract is in the nature of a pledge. One of the undertakings is that they will not be abusive to their partner. He then begins membership of any of eight groups which can be at any stage in their working through the two wheels.


Absenteeism or obstructionism by the client is countered by the contingencies available to the HAIPP personnel. There is an ongoing assessment of conduct or progress, facilitated by a note of each client's participation after each group. If they are more than ten minutes late they are recorded as being absent. Two late arrivals in a row is recorded as a default and this could be forwarded to the probhation officer. The two agencies, HAIPP and Community Corrections, work to constrain the offender to making the programme work for him or risk the contingency of jail. Non co-operation with the programme could mean he is brought before the Court by the probhation officer, on the understanding that the Supervision Order is not working, and he is re-sentenced on the original charge. This could mean he serves a jail term (three months) then is released to begin a new Supervision order, and a new 26 week participation in HAIPP. This progression has occurred and the offender has come back to the programme to recommence it after a jail term. The offender cannot opt out, he must progress through the course.


Linda Norton specifies this intent thus;


"what we are trying to do is make a single voice of accountability, with the family Court, the Police, the Refuge, HAIPP, the community groups or the people in the community, Its saying that violence and abuse is not acceptable and you have to be accountable for it. ...It doesn't matter what way he tries to weave, backwards or forwards or side step, he can't get away with it - he has to be accountable.


As well as compulsion to attend the programme from the District Court, there can be referrals from the Family Court, which have an element of compulsion also. These last for only thirteen weeks rather than 26. If there is an application for a non-molestation or non-violence order, the Judge in the Family Court may also issue an `exparte' order, that the man in the relationship attend HAIPP for fifteen weeks.




The programme depends on the work of about thirty volunteers who conduct the groups. They are called facilitators, and are men and women who have a desire to do something about violence in the community. The groups are divided along ethnic lines, Maori groups and pakeha groups, thirteen in total.


Groups commence in the evening at the HAIPP building. The convenors are called facilitators rather than counsellors. A definition by Linda of what the facilitators do is `conduct the clients through a programme', while counsellors are people who assist in finding solutions for individuals. With HAIPP this is not the case, it is education about `what men can do to stop violence now'.


The women's groups provide information and support. Their emphasis too is practical.


Linda notes that violence in white collar families is not reported to the extent that it is in lower socio-economic groups. That the woman have more to lose materially and socially, such that they don't wish to precipitate a split. Also that men in higher socio-economic groups can be more manipulative in relationships and concealing violence and dealing with allegations of violence.


The comprehensive nature of HAIPP is indicated by the range of representatives which is convened to co-ordinate their organisationís various roles in the programme. It is called an `inter-agency connection' and comprises...


Family Court


        Community Corrections




Woman's refuge (a representative from the Maori woman's refuge and a pakeha refuge)


... and other community groups which wish to participate.






Originally funding for HAIPP came from Department of Social Welfare. It was in a sense commissioned to run a trial for assessment by DSW. However this funding was discontinued and HAIPP was forced to apply for funds from the Community Funding Agency(CFA). Currently HAIPP is funded from CFA and from the Justice Department, and will generate income of their own.


What is the future of HAIPP locally. It will continue to function in Hamilton and will generate income through consultancy and presentation by HAIPP people. There have been inquiries nationally and overseas from people wishing to avail themselves of their insights and experience.







"We've only been running 22 months... put through about 1400 men, approx one percent reappeared in the court... its too early to assess, there's a certain percentage that we can't be too sure about at present.


An evaluation of the programme is being carried out by Neville Robertson, of the Psychology Department at University of Waikato. The following interview with Neville was conducted on the 26th May, 1993.


Q My first question is, is the coverage of the programme comprehensive. What is the percentage of arrests made for violence in the home, which actually appear as clients in HAIPP groups


A Its really important to state that the Men's programme is only part of the project and its not necessarily the most important part although its often the part that is most focused on. The really important part of the programme is the victim advocacy work, the work of the legal advocate for example, which ensures that the experience of victims is represented in court, the call out advocate service which means that women are visited immediately after there has been an assault... so they get immediate follow up and support - the women's education programme which means that women get a clear analysis of whatís happened to them and that they are not to blame themselves for being beaten up, they start to see a connection between their own experience and that of other women, and... the whole inter-agency co-operation that ensures that the various agencies and community groups are responding to ... (domestic) violence in a consistent way. So the Men's Education Programme is only part of that whole project.


... Almost all of the guys who are arrested end up as clients, there's about ten percent who do not get convicted... but just about everybody who does get convicted is mandated to HAIPP, either directly or as a condition of their parole after they have gone to jail.


Q How do you monitor your success rate.


A Well in there is a question about - what is success - and success can be measured in many different ways.


You can measure success in terms of convictions and that really shows that very few men are re-offending. Very few men get arrested again, some do, but behind that there's a larger group of men who have used violence but who don't come to the attention of the police, and its difficult to know how many, although interviews we've done with women indicates that it is pretty small...although over the next year we'll have more systematic data... - So there's re-arrest for those who've been physically violent but there's a bigger group again who may not be physically violent but who continue to be abusive in other ways, they continue to use emotional abuse, they continue to isolate their partner through jealousy and saying things, like being rude to her friends, or they harass their ex wives over the access visits to their kids and things like that... so the men who get re-arrested are actually the tip of the iceberg, there is a greater number... so there's not a simple answer to that question.


Q What is the Social Science Methodology in it.


A Its monitored through the contact that the women's advocates have with those women who continue to live with the abuser... We will ring her from time to time, or if she is coming along to Women's Education Programme, which is ideal cause she's really been engaged in the whole process. We monitor it through the basic kind of data base that HAIPP runs, so that if a man reappears in the arrests we know from there. (So you keep a data base of offenders and victims) Yeah - and then as... indicated we will be moving to more systematic follow up and assessment and change, and that will include looking at the Wanganui computer for um... convictions.


Its really important to have a mix of qualitative and quantitative data. ...this is really interesting methodologically, which comes through male partner violence, and one of things that really stands out, two of the things that really stands out, is that you must collect data from the victim... that offender self reports, to varying degrees, will often massively underestimate the violence... the second thing is that you must look at the context... the whole context of the relationship because otherwise you're going to miss the more subtle forms of abuse, and so its most important that you develop measures or approaches that... take into account the emotional manipulation, the isolation... and a rather bad example of that is something called the tactics scale...which is a very quantitative positivistic approach ...basically it measures hits, and it does that without any recognition of the cultural context, so for example it measures how many times you pushed your partner, and one of the things that happened is that many who use that instrument find that many women are as violent as men. And the reason that is is because there is none of the cultural context, the context has been taken away.. so that a women who pushes her partner, when he's coming at her with a knife... scores exactly the same as the guy who pushes her partner down the stairs, there no recognition of the use of force in self defence, compared to the use of physical force to get somebody to do what you want them to do. So thatís one aspect when you're looking at the methodology in this area... its really important to look at the context of the relationship... the dynamics of the relationship... otherwise you miss something. If you look solely at the physical acts of violence... we get a misleading thing because when it comes down to it you don't need to hit somebody every time, to get them to do what you want, and so many women talk about the look... you know they've been beaten once or twice, and Ďthe lookí is enough because it conveys very clearly the message "Ďwatch outí you're for it and you better toe the line." ...So we need to develop a methodology that assesses the fear dynamics that the guy draws on to maintain his power and control over his partner. Obviously measuring the physical violence is terribly important but if thatís all we do we're actually missing the... and so some of the women who are really badly beaten in terms of the damages that they have sustained physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, any way, aren't necessarily being hit every day, but because the guy has got her to a situation where she is in real fear of him... for very good reason because he has the ability to wipe her out... he is actually being incredibly abusive.


Thatís why its really important to have some qualitative information gathering, some case studies allowing the women to tell her own story so that their experience is more fully reflected in the results and the evaluation.


Q What is the future of HAIPP nationally.


A I think its going to be difficult to fund them on the same level as is the case in Hamilton. And the worry would be, that if they try and do it... for a cheaper price... that what they'll do is they'll put in the bits of the programme that the system is most willing to fund... the men's programme, because they can count men. The Justice department has a responsibility to administer a sentence, so it understands that it should pay x dollars per man per course.


The problem is of course that the men's programme is a nonsense by itself. It must be... in fact I think its actually unethical to institute a men's programme unless the women's advocacy programme is in place...


Q Why is a men's education programme by itself not effective


A Because there's no accountability, basically, I mean... in the old days we used to say that any programme was better than no programme, but I think any programme is worse than no programme, because as soon as you run a programme for abusers... what happens is that the women that they live with are immediately more likely to stay in the relationship... because they hope he is going to change. And so the programme isn't effective. What you've done is actually encouraged a number of women to stay in the situation in which they could well end up dead.


And there's got to be that feedback. As soon as a guy goes on the programme, what commonly will happen is that the women thinks he's making an effort, he's trying to do something to change... the guy will commonly sense this and he feels that the pressure is off so he goes back to his old kind of ways... until we get to the point where she's thinking "God he's going back to his old ways... I don't think this relationships going to work, maybe I need to leave it... and of course he senses that, so he pulls his socks up again... and starts to behave in a more appeasing way, to get back into her good books.


So what we're finding is that some women anyway actually end up being on kind of an emotional roller coaster. So its absolutely vital that the support is there that their isolation is broken down. That they are given the support they need to be able to live independently if they want to. That they can get information about the realistic chances of them (the abuser) changing... instead of just hanging on in there... but they actually have other kinds of options... that they see all the options that they potentially do have.


Because one of the main controlling tactics of the abuser is to isolate his partner. He chooses to live with her in isolated parts of the country, he ensures that there's not a car at home, when he goes. He may ensure that she is never alone with all the kids because he knows that if she's got all the kids she may make a run for it. He's rude to her friends so that she ends up without any friends... he discourages her from contacting her parents and family so that by keeping her isolated he is better able to control her.


So one of the real challenges for an intervention programme, is to ensure that that isolation is broken down. And that again points to the importance of victim advocacy...to ensure that women are supported, to ensure that women do learn thatís it not their fault, that women do learn about the systematic nature of male violence. ... that this is not just their fault... its not just their bad luck... to have got this one guy but that it is a systematic thing... thatís potentially more empowering. And similiarly its also important for accountability. Because if we work only with the guy we're only ever going to get half the story, and even if the guy tries to be honest he's going to minimise and deny his violence at some level. ...they'll develop really elaborate explanations by which they'll try to justify their violence... or they'll kind of forget some of the things that they've done. So unless we actually are reality checking with their partners, what we're going to do is collude with the guys violence... we're not going to address the whole range of his abusive and controlling tactics.


Q But assuming that 99% of the clients are basically human and they work through the power and control wheel then they are going to experience a consciousness raising, that there is an inherent sense that they will be socialised to respect of women, to consciousness of control, consciousness of isolation.


A Oh sure - but on the other hand, and I do see men making changes... but I think its a mistake to assume what they say in the group is going to be borne out in their behaviour away from the group. Even if they are sincere when they say it, it doesn't necessarily follow that they are going to act that way when they are at home. But even with the best intentions when the going gets tough some of them are going to resort to physically violent or other abusive behaviours. And we don't really know unless we have that accountability with the victims... that victim advocacy... that support for women, that reality checks with their partners ...otherwise we're just going to let things kind of slide... and we're gonna collude.


Because why men are violent, why anybody is violent is because it works. ...and so if they're getting away with it, then they're likely to continue to do it. And so the only way to stop them from being violent really is to ensure that it doesn't work. And so hence the importance of ensuring that the victim feels strong... That they feel like they can ring the police... that the police will provide a good service, the police will arrest and so on.


Its not therapy, its the perception that this behaviour is no longer going to work. Therapy is not necessarily going to change violent behaviour.


Q A quote from the Listener articles last year about HAIPP made reference to the cost benefit of dealing with violence pro-actively, as if it could be treated as a economic ill as well as a social ill. This broaches the question of funding. Marilyn (Marilyn Waring was a former MP, active in the cause of womenís rights) has a sense that funding for rape crisis centres is hard to come by, but with such a programme as HAIPP, which is men orientated, the purse strings are immediately looser.


A There are some indicative studies in Australia for example, in New South Wales, a population that I expect is about twice the size of New Zealand, the figure of seven hundred million dollars, per year in costs to the taxpayer and in employers in lost production. That would pay for a lot of intervention projects, it would pay for a lot of women's refuges. Then if you look at the costs to the victims themselves. The costs to relocate, the cost of Doctor's bills. We're talking mega bucks. ...so that we can go to the `new right dominated treasury' to say this actually makes economic sense as well as moral and ethical sense... to do something about domestic violence.


Q In the early eighties the Ritchies proposed that legislative change should be made to make it illegal for parents to physically chastise their children. In political science one hears the concept of the `organic view of the state', where the powers that be obtrusively interfere with the lives of its citizens. In social science I don't know how one would term this concept. Perhaps as the organic view of the community, where individual relationships between spouses and children are part of the realm of community purview and responsibility.


HAIPP is like this, and the proposal by the Ritchies is like this. In the case of HAIPP, the offender is not being proscribed or punished by the community but he is being, in a sense, re-educated. Through a process of education his consciousness is altered to proscribe him from a particular action - through internal constraints.


You yourself on television said in the event of violence in a domestic situation `there has to be consequence' (for the offender) but HAIPP goes further than consequences, it goes onto re-education. Your comments please - Has this `civil liberties' issue been raised?


A     It is a civil liberties issue, women and children, like any other citizen, have the right to live their life with dignity and freedom from attack. Whatís happened however in the past is that the state has seen fit to intervene only where those attacks have happened in public. In private its seen to be some thing different... and of course thatís a system which works to the advantage of men and to the disadvantage of women. So what intervention is about is to challenge this notion of difference between the private and the public, and say ...violence is illegal, where-ever it occurs, who ever you beat up... there's got to be a consequence. And in this town the consequence is that you are likely to be arrested and sentenced to a supervision order, and then mandated to attend the HAIPP programme.






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