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January 1, 2014 | Literature Reviews

Comprehensive Review of Interventions of Children Exposed to Violence


Futures Without Violence


Linda Chamberlain, PhD, MPH

Publication Date:


Exposure to domestic violence, which can lead to significant health and developmental problems, is a common occurrence for many children. There is an ongoing need to develop and evaluate effective interventions for children exposed to domestic violence (CEDV) and disseminate information about best practices to domestic violence advocacy programs and other service providers. Futures Without Violence received
funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Expanding Services to Children and Youth Program to conduct a national scan of interventions for CEDV and create a web-based repository of information about interventions and related resources. A three-prong approach that combined literature reviews, searches of registries and publications on evidence-based
practices, and direct inquiry with key informants was employed to identify interventions that span across the continuum of empirical, experiential and contextual evidence. A total of 23 interventions that serve children and families exposed to domestic violence met inclusion criteria. Four interventions, developed or modified specifically for CEDV, have been evaluated in randomized controlled trials with ethnically diverse study populations. Several other rigorously evaluated interventions for children and adolescents experiencing trauma including CEDV met inclusion criteria. A wide array of innovative and emerging interventions that can be offered in a variety of community-based settings by different types of service providers, including domestic violence advocates, was also identified. Nearly all of the interventions have conducted some
type of evaluation ranging from randomized controlled trials to pre- and post-test comparison studies. A key characteristic of interventions developed or modified for CEDV is that they work concurrently with non-battering parents and their children. Many interventions use multi-modal treatment approaches that combine psychoeducation and socio-emotional skills with other forms of therapy. Information about this broad array of interventions, which is supported by different types and levels of evidence, can help domestic violence advocates and other service providers to make evidence-informed decisions about program development for CEDV.