The Financial Impact of Court-Ordered Batterers’ Intervention Programs in Los Angeles County

  • 78 percent of the programs will deny a person proof of completion to submit to the court if they have unpaid fines or fees even if the individual has completed all 52 classes. 

A year-long batterers’ intervention program is just one of the burdensome conditions California courts impose on people convicted of a domestic violence charge. This study showcases data from 83 of the programs in Los Angeles County, including program fees, assessment of sliding scale payment options, and fee waivers, to determine the range and variety of fees charged by these programs. The author uses the findings to argue that a person’s ability to complete their program is dependent upon their financial situation rather than the time and effort spent to complete the program’s requirements. Program completion is part of a person’s probation obligations so nonpayment of fines and fees associated with these programs can result in a probation violation and incarceration. The text discusses the cost of registration fees, per class costs, lack of accommodations provided to people who cannot afford program fees, and recommendations to address these issues. 

You can read the full text of the study here

Key findings

  • The median cost per class was $25 per week or $1300 for the year. 
  • 23 percent of the programs do not offer a sliding scale option. 
  • 86 percent of the programs charge people a registration fee, ranging from $20 to $128 and a median registration fee is $40. 
  • More than half of the programs do not accept fee waivers from the court. 
  • A 2009 study on Batterers’ Intervention Programs found that most program participants were poor. Almost 20 percent of people in these programs reported no income for the past year. 
  • Courts infrequently consider a person’s ability to pay when imposing the $500 fee for domestic violence programs, per class fee, and restitution
  • Of the 83 programs that were studied, per class costs range from $15 to $150.
  • 31 of the programs that were contacted, or 37 percent, do not offer payment plans and will terminate a person from their program for nonpayment of fines and fees.  
  • Although the Probation Department explicitly states that fees should not be charged for absences, 16 of the programs were found to charge an absence. 


  • Eliminate all fines and fees associated with domestic violence convictions, including all costs charged by batterers’ intervention programs. 
  • Increase transparency regarding program fines and fees, the enforcement of fee waivers, sliding scale options, and payment plans. 
Alicia Virani, Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law
Criminal Justice Program at UCLA School of Law