The Domestic Violence Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (DVPERC) was established in 2011 in an effort to remedy the gap between research and practice in the field of domestic violence (DV). Their goals were to develop an ongoing and regional collaboration between researchers and local DV organizations for the purpose of conducting rigorous and relevant DV research. An ongoing collaboration was important in order to build an infrastructure that would be responsive to new research ideas as they emerged over time in a cycle of research, application, and then new research. Had they focused on only one study, the partnership would have disbanded afterwards. A regional collaboration was necessary so that they could have regular, face-to-face meetings to facilitate the relationship-building necessary to develop trust and transparency, two critical aspects of successful research-practices partnership processes.
Although the DVPERC began with two researchers (Lisa Goodman and Kristie Thomas) and three community organizations (REACH, The Second Step, and Transition House) interested in DV program evaluation, many DV organizations in the area heard about the work and asked to join. Very quickly, DVPERC expanded to include practitioners (frontline advocates, organizational leaders, and policy- makers) from 17 DV organizations including residential, community, and hospital-based programs. Since 2011 the group has continued to meet regularly, usually on a monthly basis.
Since 2011, DVPERC members have developed a number of rigorously evaluated and contextually relevant measures for DV programs, all of which are available in English and Spanish and have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals (e.g. Goodman, Bennett-Cattaneo, Thomas, Woulfe, Chong, & Smyth, 2015; Goodman, Thomas, Bennett Cattaneo, Heimel, Woulfe, & Chong, 2016; Goodman, Sullivan, Serrata, Perilla, Wilson & Fauci, 2016). Group members also have published several additional studies that have emerged from the DVPERC, including one on how survivors think about the trade-offs of seeking safety (Thomas, Goodman, & Putnins, 2015) and one on how the advocate-survivor alliance contributes to survivor wellbeing (Goodman, Fauci, Sullivan, DiGiovanni, & Wilson, 2016).
DVPERC is currently working on two new projects that emerged from the needs of its members. The first project is the development of an app to support survivors who are struggling with parenting issues related to their own and their children’s trauma. The second is an online curriculum aimed at early career researchers who want to learn how to engage effectively and sensitively in community based participatory research (CBPR) with DV agencies. The curriculum will be rooted in the literature and DVPERC members’ own experiences with CBPR.
Overall, the DVPERC model demonstrates how an ongoing, regional academic–community partnership can produce powerful and useful knowledge that neither academics nor practitioners could have developed alone.
Guides for Using Measures:
- Measure of Victim Empowerment in Relation to Safety (MOVERS)
- A Guide for Using The Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) Scales
- Lisa A. Goodman (Boston College)
- Kristie A. Thomas (Simmons College)
- Megan Bair-Merritt (Boston Medical Center)
- Deborah Heimel (REACH Beyond Domestic Violence)
- Ronit Barkai (Transition House)
- Deborah Collins-Gousby (Casa Myrna Vasquez)
DVPERC Member Organizations:
- American Institute for Research
- Boston College
- Boston Medical Center
- Casa Myrna Vasquez
- Elizabeth Stone House
- Family and Community Resources, Inc.
- Family Justice Center//Boston Public Health Commission –
- Fenway Health Violence Recovery Program
- Full Frame Initiative
- Futures Without Violence
- YWCA Central Massachusetts
- Jane Doe, Inc.
- Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center
- Journey to Safety, the domestic abuse program of Jewish Family & Children’s Service
- New Hope
- Passageway at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Prudence Crandall Center
- REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
- Renewal House
- Safe Futures
- Simmons College
- The Second Step
- Transition House