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Supporting critical thinking, learning and victim-defined advocacy...

Talking to Partners who Batter Discussion

Download this Exercise.

Overview: This discussion provides an opportunity to explore our role when victims ask us to talk to their partners or to help their partners change.

Group size:Consider asking individuals to pair up with a partner to begin the dialog and then report back to the larger group.

Time Needed: 30 – 60 minutes to start the conversation. A deeper conversation and exploration of practice options will require on-going discussions.

Leader preparation/instructions:


  • Brainstorm key requirements for creating a safe setting for participants to engage openly and honestly in the dialog. Ask all participants to commit to meeting those requirements.
  • Read the following out loud: You talk with a victim about her partner’s violent behavior. You tell her that she doesn’t deserve to be hit, that there is no place for violence in relationships, it is wrong and harmful to her and her children and that her partner is responsible for changing his violent behavior. The victim says, “That’s great, that’s so true. Would you talk to my partner and tell him what you just told me. I know he doesn’t want to be so mean. He needs some help. Would you help him?”
  • Ask staff what it would be like to answer “yes.”
  • In pairs or as a whole group discuss what it might mean for advocates to take on this role. Identify: 1) Hopes; 2) Fears; 3) Challenges; 4) Opportunities
  • Discuss whether and how advocate responses might change if the victim is a woman abused by a female partner.
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