Intervention Following Family Violence: Best Practices and Helpseeking Obstacles in a Nationally Representative Sample of Families With Children


Annotation:  This study provides the first nationally representative data on service contact, police or advocate best practices, and help-seeking obstacles for family violence that involved exposure to children.

Ten best practices were offered in 13–58 percent of police contacts and 34–97 percent of advocate contacts. Most police best practices were associated with increased likelihood of arrest. Referrals and information about restraining orders and shelter were associated with victim-perpetrator separation. There was marked case attrition for all criminal justice services, including reporting to police, in-person police responding, arrest, convictions, and incarceration.

Only 10 cases resulted in jail time. Counter to the hypothesis, higher rates of some police best practices were associated with lower likelihood of advocate contact. Also unexpectedly, higher rates of some obstacles, such as lack of transportation, were associated with higher use of police services. The study recommends referral to specific resources as a focus of crisis intervention efforts. Some family’s needs may be served by a single provider if best practices are used. Some obstacles may influence which services are sought rather than depress helpseeking altogether. These nationally representative data can be used as benchmarks for program evaluations and needs assessments. A nationally representative sample of 517 family-violence incidents was drawn from the 4,503 respondents to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence II. .(Publisher abstract modified)

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