Distinctions between Family Violence Intervention Programs (FVIPs) and Anger Management Counseling


  • Judges, prosecutors, probation, and victim advocates initiated the FVIP certification process to create consistency and accountability for FVIPs.


  • Why shouldn’t domestic violence offenders just go to Anger Management?
    • Forty-three (43) states have FVIP standards that differentiate FVIPs from anger management, substance abuse treatment, conflict resolution, and psychotherapy.


    • Anger management may be appropriate for the person who gets into a barfight or has road rage, but is rarely appropriate for someone who commits violence against an intimate partner or family member.
    • “The issue regarding domestic violence is power and control.  The offender is likely to beat or abuse the victim whether or not he or she is angry.”

 Click Here for more information about the difference between Domestic Violence and Anger Management.

  • George Anderson, founder of Anderson & Anderson, the world’s largest provider of anger management counseling.
    1. The federal Office of Violence Against Women now forbids using domestic violence grant money to place domestic violence offenders in anger management.


    1. Treatment for violent or abusive parents “should always include treatment specifically targeting domestic violence, rather than more generic and often inappropriate and inadequate treatment for anger management, as well as treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues where those have been identified.”

     “Navigating Custody and Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge’s Guide,” National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

  • Certified FVIPs are required to implement safety features designed to enhance safety for victims of family violence.  Safety features include:


    1. Victim contact by advocates trained in safety planning;
    2. Compliance and termination notifications sent to courts and probation; and,
    3. Curriculum requirements based on national best practices to minimize victim blaming and to maximize offender change.
  • Length:  FVIPs are 24 weeks in GA.  The national average is 24-26 wks (Adams, 2003.)


  • Cost:  The average cost per class is $30 in GA.  The most common cost per class is $25.  FVIPs must have a sliding fee scale for participants declared indigent by the court.  The maximum allowable charge per class for any participant is $50.
  • Monitoring and Enforcing Compliance with Civil Orders:    The Commission and the Council of Superior Court Judges’ Committee on Family Law are exploring protocols for tracking compliance with the FVIP provision in a civil order.  Promising solutions that are being tried locally include:
    1. Judicial compliance hearings;
    2. A Court Officer and the FVIP track attendance.  The Officer notifies a volunteer lawyer of noncompliance; the volunteer brings contempt; and,
    3. A Community-based Advocate and FVIP track attendance.  The Assistant DA brings contempt for noncompliance.
  • Is Research Available to Show That FVIPs Work?  Most research tells us that participants who complete FVIPs are less likely to commit new acts of violence or to violate restraining orders.  Several studies show that FVIPs reduce recidivism by 36-85% (Dutton, 1986; Edleson & Grusznski, 1988; Tolman & Bennett, 1990; Gondolf, 1997; Gondolf, 1999).  Still, despite some promising signs, recidivism rates are high and FVIPs cannot guarantee safety for victims.  The Commission can e-mail you copies of recent research about FVIPs.


  • What if there is no certified FVIP in my area?  Please use your judicial or prosecutorial leadership to encourage your local providers or other agencies to apply for certification.  Pursuant to OCGA 19-13-14(b) FVIPs that meet certification standards may be operated by any individual, partnership, corporation, association, civic group, club, county, municipality, board of education, school, or college or any public, private, or governmental entity.
  • Relevant Sections of the FVIP Certification Statute:


OCGA 19-13-16(a):    A court, in addition to imposing any penalty provided by law, when sentencing a defendant or revoking a defendant’s probation for an offense involving family violence, or when imposing a protective order against family violence, shall order the defendant to participate in an family violence intervention program…unless the court determines and states on the record why participation in such a program is not appropriate.

OCGA 19-13-10(6):   ‘Family Violence Intervention Program’…means any program that is certified by the Department of Corrections…and designed to rehabilitate family violence offenders.

For more information call 404-657-3412.