When there is an abuse happening, usually the perspectives of each side are:
- Police and social worker: How to protect the victim?
- The abuser: How to get out of trouble?
These goals are different, but not incompatible. The process of getting the children out of harm's way might involve court-ordered parenting classes, anger management, or other skills-building; it might involve supervised visits or group therapy; there are all kinds of things that would potentially raise their awareness, give them other options, model reasonable parenting styles, etc. However, even though the abuser does learn that acting that way will have legal consequences, there is still a possibility that they might never learn awareness that what they do is harmful (said by a clinical social worker). This reflects in the effectiveness of batterers' intervention programs, and the effectiveness of sex offender treatment programmes: the former is "modesty", and the latter is even slightly reverse.
I wonder why this happened. My hypothesis is that after being released they don't live in a healthy, respectful environment? I don't see a single instance of mentioning this in any material I read, even though I admit I haven't read much. In addition, I think friends and family of abusers may have developed learned helplessness in supporting and intervening bad behaviors, so they just turn a blind eye on them.
An example from that social worker: there is a man who had been an abused child, bounced through jails and psychiatric hospitals his whole life, but ended up in a nursing home environment where everyone cared for him. When he arrived, he would hit people out of the blue because it's what he expected to happen to him. With firm boundaries and a gentle environment, he stopped hitting people. But he had low intellectual functioning and a lifetime in the system, so he couldn't engage in hypothetical or multi-stage thinking about the consequences of his actions. He had to have a changed environment because he couldn't change himself.
Is this correct?