Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship Programs (RIViR), 2014-2020

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant problem for women and men in the United States, with 23% of women and 14% of men experiencing severe physical violence by an intimate partner in his or her lifetime (Smith et al., 2017 Visit disclaimer page Visit disclaimer page ). Given the goal of healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs (which are administered by the Office of Family Assistance at the Administration for Children and Families) to strengthen and improve the quality of marriages and relationships, addressing IPV for healthy relationship program participants is of critical concern.

In order to understand how to best identify and address IPV and teen dating violence (TDV) in the context of HMRE programming, ACF conducted the Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship Programs (RIViR) project.

Specific research questions to answered through this contract included:

  • What is the extent of IPV among HMRE program populations?
  • What actions have HMRE programs taken to address IPV and TDV among their program populations?
  • How do theory, research, and practice inform a general framework for understanding how IPV and TDV is addressed in HMRE programs?
  • How does research and practice inform parameters for screening, responding to IPV and TDV disclosure during programming, and following-up immediately after disclosure?
  • What are the psychometric properties of common closed-ended IPV and TDV screeners as implemented in HMRE programs?
  • How well do approaches pairing universal education on IPV and TDV with open-ended conversations compare to closed-ended screening approaches?

The research team engaged in the following research activities:

  1. In order to describe IPV experiences among HMRE program participants, the research team analyzed existing data from prior HMRE program impact evaluations.
  2. In order to summarize HMRE program approaches to IPV and TDV, the research team collected data on recent HMRE program approaches to addressing IPV and TDV, which included a review of existing IPV and TDV protocols and brief telephone interviews with programs.
  3. In order to summarize observed and hypothesized associations between HMRE program participation and experiences of IPV and TDV, the research team conducted a review of empirical and theoretical work and solicited expert input.
  4. In order to identify parameters for protocols to address IPV and TDV in HMRE programs, the team reviewed and synthesized empirical evidence as well as engaged in discussions with leading experts in the fields of HMRE programming, IPV services, and IPV research.
  5. In order to determine the psychometrics of closed-ended IPV and TDV screening approaches and compare open-ended approaches to closed-ended approaches, the project tested IPV screening approaches and surrounding protocols in HMRE programs serving youth and adults.

RTI International was awarded the contract for this project.

Point(s) of contact: Samantha Illangasekare.

Information collections related to this project have been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under OMB #0970-0503 (expired 11/30/2020). Related materials are available at the RIViR Information Collection page on RegInfo.gov Visit disclaimer page .

Related Resources

Healthy relationship programming can play an important role in preventing and responding to intimate partner violence (IPV). Healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) initiatives, funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, present an opportunity for reaching adults who are experiencing IPV and connecting them with help.

High school-based healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs, funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, represent one opportunity for reaching youth who are experiencing teen dating violence (TDV) and connecting them with help.

Teen dating violence is widespread and linked to a host of negative short- and long-term outcomes for youth. Youth are rarely offered an explicit opportunity to disclose these experiences to a trusted adult or told where they can get help if they need it. 

High school–based healthy marriage and relationship education (HMRE) programs, funded by the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services...

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of interpersonal violence in the United States. Its consequences can be serious: 41% of female IPV survivors and 14% of male survivors experience physical injuries, and other survivors face acute or long-term physical or behavioral health problems and economic consequences...

This report reviews empirical and theoretical work and expert input to summarize research and theory about any associations between healthy relationship program participation and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and teen dating violence (TDV)...

This paper summarizes the available evidence in three key areas related to recognizing and addressing intimate partner violence/teen dating violence in healthy relationship programs...

This brief, developed for organizations implementing healthy relationship programming, provides a summary of research/theory on how healthy relationship program participation could affect intimate partner violence and teen dating violence. Specifically, the brief describes how those effects might occur, and how they might differ for different groups of adults and youth...

This paper describes current approaches used by healthy relationship programs recently funded by the Administration for Children and Families to address intimate partner violence (IPV) and teen dating violence (TDV). This summary does not describe best practices, but will help lay the foundation for activities in the Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship programs (RIViR) project.

This paper summarizes research on the prevalence and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) among the target populations for adult healthy relationship programs. The purpose is to provide practitioners with information on their program populations to support their efforts in addressing program participants’ experiences with IPV.