207255 Family violence intervention: Success with juvenile perpetrators

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:00 AM

Thomas Perzynski, MSW , Lucas County Juvenile Court, Toledo, OH
Background/Purpose: Juveniles are rarely viewed and studied as perpetrators of domestic violence. Juvenile perpetrators of domestic violence present a set of unique issues and problems yet the literature is sparse with research on effective community interventions. A unique program was initiated in King County, Washington to respond to the families with juveniles adjudicated in the court system for violence against a parent/guardian. The program was replicated with nearly identical results in Lucas County, Ohio.

Methods: The STEP-UP program is a 21 week group intervention with juvenile perpetrators who have been physically and emotionally abusive towards their parent or guardian. This unique approach recognizes that the treatment must include both the adolescent and the parent/guardian. Parents and teens learn empathy, accountability, and effective problem solving.

Results reveal that both youth and parent/guardians rate a significant reduction in physical, verbal, and emotional abuse by the former juvenile perpetrator. The number of subsequent domestic violence charges filed in juvenile court is drastically reduced in graduates of the program. Nearly 100% of participants complete the program

Conclusion: This presentation will provide practical solutions and tools that include assessments, evaluations, safety plans, respectful communication tools, and other elements of a community intervention for juvenile perpetrators and their parents/guardians. The STEP-UP program requires that both the adolescent and parent/guardian learn, practice, and demonstrate techniques and tools presented in the group process with the goal of reducing violence and abuse in the home. Barriers of implementation as well as cost benefits will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
Describe three essential curriculum components of an effective juvenile and parent/guardian family violence program

Keywords: Family Violence, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervisor designation, Mr. Perzynski has Supervised and Coordinated the Step-Up Program in Lucas County, Toledo, Ohio, for the past 2.5 years. Prior presentations of the program took place at the National Juvenile and Family Court Judges Conference in Spring, 2008, and with the Toledo Bar Association in the fall of 2008. Since receiving his MSW from St. Louis University in 1980, Mr Perzynski has worked extensively in mental health and the juvenile court settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.