Document Type


Publication Date



School of Public Health


Social and Behavioral Sciences


There is growing recognition that home visitation programs serving at-risk families may be an appropriate mechanism for detecting and reducing intimate partner violence (IPV). More research is needed about how home visitors assess and respond to IPV, especially in rural and underserved areas with unique social and geographic challenges. This study describes the qualitative, needs assessment phase of a larger mixed-methods evaluation of IPV assessment, referral processes, and safety planning with clients within a statewide home visitation program. Three focus groups were conducted with home visitors (n = 16) in West Virginia’s Home Visitation Program in May 2015. Home visitors represented four separate home visitation models and provided services across 12 of West Virginia’s 55 counties. Guiding questions focused on home visitors’ current protocol, experiences, barriers, and facilitators to (a) screening and assessment for IPV, (b) making referrals after disclosures of IPV, and (c) developing safety plans with IPV-exposed clients. Barriers identified by home visitors included the nature of assessment tools, issues with service availability and access in rural areas, and lack of education and training surrounding safety planning. Facilitators included building relationships and trust with clients, providing anticipatory guidance when making referrals, and tailoring safety plans to clients’ unique situations. Participants also expressed a critical need to develop procedures for assuring home visitor safety when supporting IPV-exposed clients. These qualitative data highlight issues surrounding the management of IPV in home visitation and have the potential to inform future enhancements to programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of rural, disadvantaged communities.

Source Citation

Davidov DM, Coffman J, Dyer A, et al. Assessment and Response to Intimate Partner Violence in Home Visitation: A Qualitative Needs Assessment With Home Visitors in a Statewide Program. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. January 2018:88626051875486. doi:10.1177/0886260518754869