Developing and pilot-testing assessment and outcome evaluation instruments for community-based domestic violence and sexual assault programs: Findings from North Carolina
Introduction: Community-based Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault (DV/SA) programs exist nationwide, with 100 in North Carolina (NC). NC DV/SA programs serve over 75,000 persons annually, with many DV/SA survivors receiving longer-term services (shelter, individual/group counseling). Although DV/SA survivors have many needs (health, etc.), there are no standardized assessment instruments/procedures used by all DV/SA programs to: identify needs of survivors entering longer-term services (so appropriate wrap-around services/referrals may be put into place); and re-assess survivors at service-end to determine how well needs were met (service effectiveness). The goal of this 4-year collaboration with NC DV/SA survivors and programs was to develop/pilot-test standardized assessment instruments/procedures to address this service gap. Methods: To identify topics for the instruments, focus groups were conducted with NC DV/SA survivors and all NC DV/SA programs were surveyed (77% responded). Using these findings, instruments were drafted to assess survivors' goals, violence/legal experiences, safety, physical/emotional health, substance use, coping, and social support. Staff at 4 NC DV/SA programs piloted the instruments with survivors to assess feasibility/usefulness. Survivors' instrument responses also were analyzed. Results: The instruments: were acceptable to survivors; took 15-minutes to administer; were feasible to use; and identified important issues that staff could help survivors address. Analysis of survivors' instrument responses at service-entry showed that most survivors experienced high levels of violence, had high levels of physical/emotional health/substance abuse symptoms, and had low levels of coping and social support. All these improved significantly after DV/SA services. Conclusion: Standardized assessment procedures can be very useful to DV/SA programs and survivors.
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Discuss the procedures used to design and pilot-test assessment instruments for use in community-based domestic violence/sexual assault programs and the results of these procedures.
Keyword(s): Violence, Assessments
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a 2nd year doctoral student in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina. I am a graduate research assistant on research projects in the area of family violence prevention and service delivery.
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.