Abuse Intervention Services
Services have been available to victims of domestic violence for 20 years in Schuylkill County. During this time, offenders were dealt with in the criminal justice system. Typically, criminal justice interventions focused on rehabilitation through punishment. Unfortunately, this approach alone did nothing to address the belief system that enables a person to batter.
In order to add another dimension to criminal justice interventions, Abuse Intervention Services (AIS) was developed. The goal of the AIS program is to act as another means of holding offenders accountable for their actions while also challenging the beliefs that allow an offender to abuse. In order to achieve this goal, the AIS program works closely with Schuylkill Women in Crisis, the Adult Probation Department and the court system.
The backbone of AIS program is the 26-week group process based on the Duluth Curriculum that introduces offenders to a wide variety of abuses and confronts them on the ways they have employed these abuses. Finally, the group works to learn new, non-abusive behaviors.
Based upon the experiences of other batterer intervention programs, we know that many of the men who complete this program will continue to abuse. However, we also know that some will accept responsibility for their actions and work toward true change. Regardless of the outcome, the presence of the AIS program in our community sends a strong message to offenders—a message that says abuse will not be tolerated here.
Abuse Intervention Services (AIS)
A Brief History
Abuse Intervention Services (AIS) was developed in response to the epidemic of domestic violence in the Schuylkill County community. Like so many other communities throughout our nation, Schuylkill County had responded to the need for victim services but had not gone forward in addressing the true roots of the problem—the violent individual and societal systems that provide only punitive, segmented responses to violent and/or controlling behavior.
It is the mission of AIS to work with local criminal justice and law enforcement personnel, as well as other community service programs to create an atmosphere of accountability and change for violent, abusive individuals.
Although our work will look different from traditional victim-centered approaches, our goal will remain the same… creating a community whose every member can love a life free of violence and abuse.