Unsuspecting Employees Referred to Wife Beating Classes

Posted on: July 15, 2007

An unfortunate trend is becoming problematic nationwide. Employees from businesses and governmental agencies are being inappropriately placed in domestic violence wife beaters classes by their Employee Assistance Providers. This practice is damaging to victims of domestic violence and useless for persons in need of anger management/executive coaching classes.

Employee Assistance Professionals are not required to have training or exposure to anger management as a part of their core training. Consequently, the training which they have in substance abuse, mental health and stress management is inadequate to prepare them to assess and refer employees or dependants in need of anger management.

Corporate executives and Human Resource Managers need to carefully examine the referral patterns of in-house and contracted Employee Assistance Services. A simple inquiry to the local court or probation department can quickly provide information on whether or not the referral source is for wife beaters/domestic violence perpetrators or not.

There are three national resources which offer some legitimacy finding professional anger management providers. A list of these resources can be found at:, and

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP

Fellow, American Orthopsychiatric Association


6 Responses to "Unsuspecting Employees Referred to Wife Beating Classes"

my question is, how successful is anger management treatment for spousal abusers?

I am not a proffesional,(volunteer) and it has been suggested that spousal abusers rarely seek help for themselves. Often they may “appear to be willing” to take responsibility for themselves, only to “convince” their spouse, law enforcement or others that they are taking proper action.
So in dealing with admitted abusers, is it really affective to refer them to anger managent?

As a non professional I would not dare emotionally confront an admitted abuser for fear they will only make someone pay for it. These are the toughest of people- in -crisis I have dealt with.

I like the the dialogue. It is important to note that there is and should be a distinction between anger management classes and domestic violence interventions. Many individuals who display domestic abuse only display this behavior towards their intimate partners. At work and in other places they are “perfect.” They require specific DV interventions to improve behavior not anger management classes. The sad reality is judges don’t get this.

Anger management classes are useful to assist those who struggle with anger in many aspects of their lives. I can say that I have seen from stay at home moms to, blue and white collar workers as well as high level executives and one thing holds true–a key factor in anger management is motivation. As a matter of fact at the start of every anger management program the individual is given an assessment called the anger management map which measures a number of factors but a key factor is willingness to change. The higher the willingness to change the greater the likelihood that the interventions will stick.

Unfortunately many of those referred by the court are not motivated to change-they are motivated to “get done” The well trained and experienced anger management provider will have some skill in improving motivation.

However you are right. As one who came from a home were DV was common place I can tell you that this is a hard population to reach.

Carlos Todd

This is a great post and great diaglog. Domestic violence is defined in law as “violence in an intimate relationship”. The key words are “intimate relationship”.
Anger is a normal human emotion which is a problem when it is too intense, occurs too frequently, lasts too long, is harmful to self or others, leads to aggression or violence or distroys interpersonal relationships.

Perpetrators of domestic violence are motivated not by anger but rather the need to control their partner and all aspects of the relationship.

Therefore, anger management is not useful and unlikely to help domestic violence perpetrators.

I have just completed a book titled Family Terror that is available at The name of the book is significant. By calling this abusive behavior domestic violence or a domestic dispute we give permission for the violence not to be taken seriously. If a fight happened in a fast food restaurant we would not call it a hamburger dispute. It would be a crime. Also, Family Terror is a crime.
And there lies the ultimate solution. We don’t need more conventional shelters. In fact we will need fewer conventional shelters if only we treat “Family Terror” as a crime. The abuser is the criminal. It is not a logical solution to hide the victim and let the abuser run free. There are technical methods to guarantee protective orders are enforced.
If we continue down the path we are currently on, this violence and its results will multiply with each generation. Stop and think about one abuser and victim and their children. How many lives will be impacted in the next generation or next 50 years because of these people? Keep in mind that most children grow up to be either a victim or an abuser if they were raised in that environment. It is also important to note that 80% of the people who are incarcerated today grew up in abusive homes. So each of these crimes causing the incarceration, also had victims as well.
The most prudent use of funds is stopping the abuser. If the abuser is stopped, many things will change for the better. This abuse is the TRUE SILENT EPIDEMIC in our country.
Anytime there is a great deal of money being passed around, there is going to be issues embraced that are selfish and not wholesome to the good of the cause.
The big question is how can we the proper solutions started and cease the improper band aid expenses that are just plain wasteful of our tax money.

upon reviewing Nagles site and posts here at Anger on my mind:
I have talked with kids who are in high school, and many (at my locality), complain that there is no education on abuse, violence, or anger management. They have said they are told “not to do certain actions”. But it ends there. Some of these teens are very frustrated by this.

I am not quite sure why math, geography,etc. are so important
but attitudes toward abuse, violence ,anger,as well as emotional management and emotional vocabulary, are ignored.
One would think the latter is important both to society and personal growth.
personally i think our entire education system needs reavaluated.
we should not have to wait for adult classes.

Absolutely, this all starts with the children. The training needs to be the basis for good behavior. We have lost the basic manner training that used to be part of all of our education.

These children are in considerable pain if they are growing up in an abusive home. The pain needs to be noticed and prevented.

Our schools need to step up to the plate on this one as you describe. This education is probably on of the most important as it affects the self esteem of the child. That self esteem will determine the outcome of everything including learning anything else that is presented to them. A child cannot be the educated child to his full potential without that self esteem. Violence should not be tolerated in anyone’s life.

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