Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children, Youth, and Parents Impacted by Family Violence

Guiding principles inform and guide decisions and choices. They are needed to provide clear guideposts, allow for different—but not conflicting interpretations—and distill collective insights from years of experience. The Guiding Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children, Youth, and Parents Impacted by Family Violence (Guiding Principles) build on previous discussion papers to improve outcomes for children exposed to domestic violence. The Guiding Principles are designed to inform program development, intervention, and evaluation in programs that serve children, youth, and parents overcoming domestic violence as well as those who use violence. They include key considerations on Partnership, Equity, Storytelling, Centering Lived Experience, Healing, Accountability, and Safety.

The principles are not listed in order of priority; each are of equal importance and work together to promote positive outcomes. The Guiding Principles should shape culture, dictate behaviors, and drive decisions in organizations, regardless of changes to program strategies, approaches, programming, activities, and goals. Read the full document here.

picture two childrenPartnership

  • Establish transformational partnerships that shift power to communities.


  • Implement approaches that are responsive to the connection between family violence and other forms of oppression that impact people’s lives.


  • Capture stories and spread their impact using a wide-range of interpersonal, cultural, and research and evaluation approaches.

Centering Lived Expertise

  • Facilitate people’s ability to define their experiences and direct the trajectory of their lives.


  • Create a wide array of pathways to healing for all people impacted by violence powered by individual, family, and community relationships.


  • Establish practices that hold people who use violence responsible, repair harm caused by people and systems, and change the conditions that perpetuate violence.


  • Build programs and systems that prioritize adult and child survivors’ interests equally to address their physical, spiritual, emotional, social and environmental safety.