245595 Perceptions and knowledge on the co-occurrence of intimate partner violence and child maltreatment: Differences across service providers

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Martha L. Coulter, DrPH MSW , Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Melissa Cristal Mercado-Crespo, MSc, MA , College of Public Health, Department of Community & Family Health, University of South Flordia, Tampa, FL
Problem: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and child maltreatment (CM) may co-occur within same family contexts. Still, limited research has explored the perceptions and knowledge of IPV, CM and their co-occurrence across family violence professionals from multiple disciplines.

Methods: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine different service provider's perceptions, understanding and training received on the co-occurrence of IPV and CM. Specifically, 146 child protection investigators (CPI), child welfare, IPV service providers and other professionals in Hillsborough County-Florida participated in this close-ended, Internet-based survey.

Results: Significant differences were found across professionals' perceptions on: IPV and why people stay in abusive relationships, the impact of IPV workers' report of CM, and the training received on the co-occurrence of IPV and CM. While CPI and child welfare service providers felt most comfortable and capable of dealing with CM, IPV service providers felt most comfortable/capable of intervening in IPV cases. They also self-reported the greatest levels of both IPV and CM knowledge.

Differences were noted in IPV and child welfare service providers' views on the best way to deal with battered partners. Most IPV service providers believed battered partners should file for divorce and physical batterers should be arrested immediately, compared to slightly over a third of child welfare and CPI professionals.

Conclusions: Discrepancies across service providers' knowledge, training and perceived ability to deal with IPV and CM are noted. These serve as opportunities for agencies to collaborate and effectively intervene with the co-occurrence of IPV and CM.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss child protection investigators, child welfare, and intimate partner violence (IPV) professionals' perceptions on the co-occurrence of IPV and child maltreatment.

Keywords: Child Abuse, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Faculty at the University of South Florida College of Public Health and Director of The Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence, I conduct and oversee multiple family violence research studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.