Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention in Fatherhood Programs

Research BriefFamiliesJun 11 2020

This brief is intended to support both researchers and father-serving professionals in their efforts to study, evaluate, and implement practices for use in fatherhood programs to help prevent and address domestic violence. It provides background information on the consequences of domestic violence for families and children, describes domestic violence prevention and intervention efforts in the context of fatherhood programming, and provides examples of promising practices used by fatherhood programs to help prevent and address domestic violence. Additional resources for preventing and addressing domestic violence are also provided.

This brief was created through the Preventing and Addressing Intimate Violence when Engaging Dads (PAIVED) study. PAIVED was funded by the Office of Family Assistance and overseen by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. Child Trends and their partners, Boston Medical Center and Futures Without Violence, conducted the study.

Key Findings

It is important for practitioners to understand the difference between prevention and intervention. It is also important to recognize the unique role that fatherhood programs can play in helping both to prevent domestic violence and intervene when it occurs. This brief outlines several promising practices that fatherhood programs use to help prevent and address domestic violence.

Promising practices to help prevent domestic violence include:

  • Provide healthy relationship education.

Promising practices to help intervene when fathers use domestic violence include:

  • Provide low-cost or free battering intervention program services. To help minimize cost of these services, some fatherhood programs include these services in-house as a part of their broader fatherhood services or programs negotiate with a partner agency for low-cost services.

Promising practices to both help prevent domestic violence and intervene when it has occurred include:

  • Screen fathers for both domestic violence perpetration and survival and their risk factors.
  • Educate fathers on domestic violence including the meaning of domestic violence, how to recognize unhealthy behaviors, the intergenerational cycle of violence, and the impact of violence on children.
  • Establish partnerships with local domestic violence agencies. Partner domestic violence agencies could provide supplemental education to fathers; take participant referrals; and train fatherhood program staff on domestic violence, including how to identify it and address it safely and effectively.

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