Creating a Tool for Assessing Domestic Violence Risk and Impact Among TANF Clients
The Family Violence Option (FVO), a provision of the 1996 welfare legislation, allows states to waive certain program requirements for domestic violence (DV) survivors in order to protect them from danger or penalties. The absence of a standardized method for assessing risk and impact has been an impediment to states’ use of the FVO, particularly in the granting of waivers. The purpose of this study was to address this limitation by developing and testing a risk and impact assessment tool for DV survivors applying for waivers under the FVO. Therefore, a collaborative effort between state administrators and researchers was formed which included input from welfare staff and DV advocates. Background research included reviews of validated risk assessments and FVO policies, as well as primary data from focus groups and surveys with staff from the state human services organization, county welfare agencies, and DV organizations. A tool was then created with 131 questions covering demographics, abuse experiences, partner access and risk, perceptions of safety, and emotional health, and piloted in four counties. Two hundred and thirty-seven completed assessments were analyzed using descriptive statistics, principal component analysis, and feedback from assessors. The final tool (n= 95 items) was informed by validated evidence and frontline practice wisdom, recommended to improve FVO utilization and survivor outcomes. From this study, the authors recommend that other states seeking changes to their FVO risk assessment policy and practice explore collaborative partnerships between practitioners and researchers in order to make decisions informed by best practices and systematic research. They should also pursue cross departmental training of risk assessment tools to prevent a siloed approach to FVO implementation.
Abdi, H., & Williams, L. J. (2010). Principal component analysis. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics, 2(4), 433-459. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/wics.101
Allard, M. A., Albelda, R., Colten, M. E., & Cosenza, C. (1997). In harm’s way? Domestic violence, AFDC receipt, and welfare reform in Massachusetts. Boston: University of Massachusetts, McCormack Institute and Center for Survey Research.
An, S., Yoo, J., & Nackerud, L. G. (2016). Using game theory to understand screening for domestic violence under the TANF family violence option. Advances in Social Work, 16(2), 338-357. doi: https://doi.org/10.18060/16671
Barusch, A., Taylor, M. J., & Derr, M. (1999). Understanding families with multiple barriers to self-sufficiency. Salt Lake City: University of Utah, Social Research Institute.
Bonomi, A. E., Thompson, R. S., Anderson, M., Reid, R. J., Carrell, D., Dimer, J. A., & Rivara, F. P. (2006). Intimate partner violence and women’s physical, mental, and social functioning. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 30(6), 458-466.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
Campbell, J. C. (1995). Assessing dangerousness: Violence by sexual offenders, batterers, and child abusers. NY: Sage.
Campbell, J. C. (2004). Helping women understand their risk in situations of intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(12), 1464-1477.
Campbell, J. C., Webster, D. W., & Glass, N. (2009). The danger assessment: Validation of a lethality risk assessment instrument for intimate partner femicide. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(4), 653-674.
Casey, T., Davies, J., Gifford, A., & Menard, A. (2010). Not enough: What TANF offers family violence victims. New York, NY: Legal Momentum and Harrisburg, PA: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Carbone-López, K., Kruttschnitt, C., & Macmillan, R. (2006). Patterns of intimate partner violence and their associations with physical health, psychological distress, and substance use. Public Health Reports, 121(4), 382-392.
Cole, P. R. (2001). Impoverished women in violent partnerships: Designing services to fit their reality. Violence Against Women, 7(2), 222-233.
Culbertson, K. A., Vik, P. W., & Kooiman, B. J. (2001). The impact of sexual assault, sexual assault perpetrator type, and location of sexual assault on ratings of perceived safety. Violence Against Women, 7(8), 858-875.
Echeburúa, E., Fernández-Montalvo, J., de Corral, P., & López-Goñi, J. J. (2009). Assessing risk markers in intimate partner femicide and severe violence: A new assessment instrument. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(6), 925-939.
Ewing, J. (1984). Detecting alcoholism: The CAGE Questionnaire. Journal of the American Medical Association, 252(14), 1905-1907.
Goodman, L. A., Smyth, K. F., Borges, A. M., & Singer, R. (2009). When crises collide: How intimate partner violence and poverty intersect to shape women’s mental health and coping? Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(4), 306-329.
Hansen, M., Andersen, T. E., Armour, C., Elklit, A., Palic, S., & Mackrill, T. (2010). PTSD-8: A Short PTSD Inventory. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 6, 101-108. doi: https://doi.org/10.2174/1745017901006010101
Hahn, S. A., & Postmus, J. L. (2014). Economic empowerment of impoverished IPV survivors: A review of best practice literature and implications for policy. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 15(2), 79-93. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1524838013511541
Hetling, A., Saunders, C., & Born, C. E. (2006). “Missing” domestic violence victims in welfare caseloads: The discrepancy between administrative and survey disclosure rates. Journal of Health & Social Policy, 22(2), 79-95.
Holcomb, S., Johnson, L., Hetling, A., Postmus, J. L., Steiner, J., Braasch, L., & Riordan, A. (2017). Implementation of the Family Violence Option 20 years later: A review of state welfare rules for domestic violence survivors. Journal of Policy Practice, 16(4), 415-431. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/15588742.2017.1311820
Kropp, P. R. (2008). Intimate partner violence risk assessment and management. Violence and Victims, 23(2), 202-220. doi: https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.23.2.202
Laakso, J. H., & Drevdahl, D. J. (2006). Women, abuse, and the welfare bureaucracy. Affilia, 21(1), 84-96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109905283135
Lein, L., Jacquet, S., Lewis, C., Cole, P., & Williams, B. (2001). With the best of intentions: Family Violence Option and abused women's needs. Violence Against Women, 7(2) 193-210. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/10778010122182398
Lindhorst, T., Meyers, M., & Casey, E. (2008). Screening for domestic violence in public welfare offices: An analysis of a case manager and client interactions. Violence Against Women, 14(1), 5-28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801207311948
Maiuro, R. D., Vitaliano, P. P., Sugg, N. K., Thompson, D. C., Rivara, F. P., & Thompson, R. S. (2000). Development of a health care provider survey for domestic violence: Psychometric properties. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 19(4), 245-252. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0749-3797(00)00230-0
Meisel, J., Chandler, D., & Rienzi, B. M. (2003). Domestic violence prevalence and effects on employment in two California TANF populations. Violence Against Women, 9(10), 1191-1212. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801203255861
Macmillan, R., Nierobisz, A., & Welsh, S. (2000). Experiencing the streets: Harassment and perceptions of safety among women. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 37(3), 306-322. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022427800037003003
Marshall, L. L. (1992). Development of the Severity of Violence Against Women Scale. Journal of Family Violence, 7, 103-121.
Meier, J. (1997). Domestic violence, character, and social change in the welfare reform debate. Law & Policy, 19(2), 205-263. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9930.00028
Messing, J. T., & Thaller, J. (2014). Intimate partner violence risk assessment: A primer for social workers. British Journal of Social Work, 45(6), 1804-1820.
Monahan, J., & Skeem, J. L. (2014). The evolution of violence risk assessment. CNS spectrums, 19(5), 419-424. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/s1092852914000145
Nicholls, T. L., Pritchard, M. M., Reeves, K. A., & Hilterman, E. (2013). Risk assessment in intimate partner violence: A systematic review of contemporary approaches. Partner Abuse, 4(1), 76-168.
Osborne, J. W., & Costello, A. B. (2004). Sample size and subject to item ratio in principal components analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 9(11), 1-9. Retrieved from https://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?n=11&v=9
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, P. L. 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105 (1996).
Postmus, J. L. (2000). Analysis of the Family Violence Option: A strengths perspective. Affilia, 15(2), 244-258. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/08861090022093967
Postmus, J. L. (2004). Battered and on welfare: The experiences of women and the family violence option. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 31(2), 113-123.
Postmus, J. L., Hetling, A., Johnson, L., Steiner, J., Lin, H., & Holcomb, S. (2017). New Jersey Assessment of Domestic Violence Risk and Impact (NJADVRI). Retrieved from https://socialwork.rutgers.edu/centers/center-violence-against-women-and-children/research-and-evaluation/assessingdomestic-violence-under-family-violence-option-fvo
Postmus, J. L., Plummer, S., & Stylianou, A. M. (2016). Measuring economic abuse in the lives of survivors: Revising the Scale of Economic Abuse. Violence Against Women, 22(6), 692-703. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801215610012
Postmus, J. L., Stylianou, A. M., & McMahon, S. (2016). The Abusive Behavior Inventory – Revised. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(17), 2867-2888.
Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385-401.
Saunders, D. G., Holter, M. C., Pahl, L. C., Tolman, R. M., & Kenna, C. E. (2005). TANF workers’ responses to battered women and the impact of brief worker training: What survivors report. Violence Against Women, 11(2), 227-254.
Spitzer, R. L., Kroenke, K., Williams, J. B., & Lowe, B. (2006). A brief measure for assessing generalized anxiety disorder: The GAD-7. Archives of Internal Medicine, 166(10), 1092-1097. doi: https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.166.10.1092
Stansfield, R., & Williams, K. R. (2014). Predicting family violence recidivism using the DVSI-R: Integrating survival analysis and perpetrator characteristics. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 41(2), 163-180.
Storey, J. E., Kropp, P. R., Hart, S. D., Belfrage, H., & Strand, S. (2014). Assessment and management of risk for intimate partner violence by police officers using the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the evaluation of risk. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 41(2), 256-271. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854813503960
Streiner, D., Norman, G., & Cairney, J. (2015). Health measurement scales: A practical guide to their development and use (5th ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/wmh3.140
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon/Pearson Education.
Thompson, M. P., Basile, K. C., Hertz, M. F., & Sitterle, D. (2006). Measuring intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration: A compendium of assessment tools. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Tolman, R. M., & Raphael, J. (2000). A review of research on welfare and domestic violence. Journal of Social Issues, 56(4), 655-682. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00190
U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). ACS demographic and housing estimates, 2011-2015 American community survey 5-year estimates. Retrieved from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS). Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_ipv_report_2013_v17_single_a.pdf
Van Dam, N. T., & Earleywine, M. (2011). Validation of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale—Revised (CESD-R): Pragmatic depression assessment in the general population. Psychiatry Research, 186(1), 128-132.
Zweig, J. M., Dank, M., Lachman, P., & Yahner, J. (2014). Technology, teen dating violence and abuse, and bullying: Final Report July 2013. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Copyright to works published in Advances in Social Work is retained by the author(s).