Domestic violence (DV) protective factors are individual and relational attributes, as well as environmental and social conditions, that lessen the impact of domestic violence for adult and child survivors and promote their safety, healing, and well-being. Protective factors can be strengthened even under adverse circumstances. Growth in any one of the protective factors can be the foundation for growth in others. The protective factors are:
- Safer and more stable conditions – lower risk of physical, sexual, or emotional fear and harm, and predictable and consistent positive experiences in one’s physical and social environments and relationships.
- Social, cultural, and spiritual connections – sustained relationships with people, institutions, a community, or a higher power that promote a sense of connectedness and positive identity which results in feelings of trust, belonging, faith, hope, and a belief that one matters.
- Resilience and a growth mindset – Resilience is the process of positive adaptation and personal growth—such as coping, problem solving, becoming more resourceful, and functioning well—in response to adversity. Demonstrating resilience requires a growth mindset—the optimistic belief that one’s abilities, circumstances, and challenges can be improved through a commitment to change and consistent effort.
- Nurturing parent-child interaction – a parent or parent-figure consistently responds to and meets the needs of a child in an attuned, affectionate, patient, and caring manner.
- Social and emotional abilities – the knowledge, attitudes, and abilities necessary to “understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
To learn more, read the Protective Factors for Survivors of Domestic Violence Issue Brief from the Quality Improvement Center on Domestic Violence in Child Welfare.
Advocates, survivors, their family members, friends, and communities can all help promote these 5 protective factors. Read more about how parents and caregivers can help children and youth survivors heal and thrive.