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

Project Overview

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). 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 is conducting the Responding to Intimate Violence in Relationship Programs (RIViR) project.

Specific research questions to be answered through this contract include:

  • 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 is engaging in the following research activities:

  1. In order to describe IPV experiences among HMRE program participants, the research team has analyzed existing data from prior HMRE program impact evaluations.
  2. In order to summarize HMRE program approaches to IPV and TDV, the research team has 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 has 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 is testing IPV screening approaches and surrounding protocols in HMRE programs.

RTI International was awarded the contract for this project.

The point of contact is Samantha Illangasekare.

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