Meeting Survivor Needs Through Non-Residential Domestic Violence Services & Supports: Results of a Multi-State Study
Over the course of 9 months, researchers collected data from 90 community-based domestic violence programs. Together, the programs served 1,467 survivors in four states in rural, suburban and urban settings.
Survivors also completed surveys about their experiences seeking and receiving non-residential services and other supports.
Among the study’s key findings are the following:
- More than three out of four survivors found services, such as support groups, counseling and legal advocacy, to be “very helpful” on a Likert scale.
- Ninety-five percent of respondents felt that they were more knowledgeable about planning for their safety and were more hopeful about the future after seeking and engaging in services.
- Generally, the more contacts survivors had with the program, the more likely they were to report that they had received the necessary help they were seeking.
- Even programs with fewer resources were able to meet survivors’ needs with some programs working with budgets of less than $500,000.
Achieving Positive Outcomes
“Across the nation, domestic violence programs hold the responsibility of achieving positive outcomes for families impacted by domestic violence even in the face of diminishing community resources,” said Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Bryan Samuels. “This multi-state study affirms that Family Violence Prevention and Services Act funding is helping to meet the social and emotional needs of domestic violence survivors and their children.
“Ninety-five percent of survivors knew more ways to plan for their safety, were more hopeful about the future, and felt able to achieve the goals they set for themselves,” Samuels said. “Research tells us that these changes are early steps in achieving longer term well-being and safety for victims of domestic violence. The ACYF is committed to facilitating healing and recovery and promoting the social and emotional well-being of children, individuals, and families who have experienced maltreatment, exposure to violence, and trauma.”
Challenges and Disparities
Many challenges exist for survivors of domestic violence, and the current state of the economy is negatively impacting survivors. Approximately 45 percent of survey respondents reported having difficulty with financial obligations, including payment of bills.
The study also highlighted disparate findings between groups. For example, Latina and Hispanic survivors, who were more likely to identify child-related needs than were survivors from other groups.
Out of 54 services and supports that survivors might need, the following emerged as the highest ranked among survivors:
- Information/support needs
- Safety needs
- Legal advocacy needs
- Child-related needs
- Economic needs
The study’s implications for the field include the following:
- It’s important to offer a wide range of programs and services through non-residential domestic violence programs.
- Special attention should be paid to the economic needs of survivors.
- Comprehensive programs will best meet the needs of survivors in need of services.