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Screening For Domestic Violence In Public Welfare Offices
Violence Against Women
  • Taryn Lindhorst
  • Marcia Meyers
  • Erin A. Casey, University of Washington Tacoma
Publication Date
Document Type
Despite a high prevalence of domestic violence among welfare clients, most studies of the implementation of the Family Violence Option (FVO) under welfare reform find that women rarely receive domestic violence services in welfare offices. This study reviews findings from current research on the factors that improve the likelihood that women will reveal their domestic violence experiences to service personnel, and uses the guidelines drawn from this review to evaluate domestic violence screening practices in welfare offices using 782 transcribed interviews between welfare workers and clients from 11 sites in four states. The analysis found that only 9.3% of case encounters involved screening for domestic violence. Screening rates differed by state, interview type, and length of worker employment. Qualitative analysis of the interviews showed that the majority of screening by workers was routinized or consisted of informing clients of the domestic violence policy without asking about abuse. Only 1.2% of the interviews incorporated at least two of the procedures that increase the likelihood of disclosure among domestic violence survivors, suggesting deeply inadequate approaches to screening for abuse within the context of welfare offices, and a need for improved training, protocol, and monitoring of FVO implementation.
open access
Citation Information
Taryn Lindhorst, Marcia Meyers and Erin A. Casey. "Screening For Domestic Violence In Public Welfare Offices" Violence Against Women Vol. 14 Iss. 1 (2008) p. 5 - 28
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