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Collaborative Effort Toward Resolving Family Violence Against Women (From Violence Against Women and Family Violence: Developments in Research, Practice, and Policy, 2004, Bonnie Fisher, ed. -- See NCJ-199701)

NCJ Number
Date Published
9 pages
After examining the use of a domestic violence prevention commission as one approach to interagency collaboration in addressing domestic violence, this paper presents focus group and archival data from a process evaluation that identified the obstacles to collaborative problem solving approaches to this issue.

The police department established the Domestic Violence Prevention Commission (DVPC) in a southwestern city with a population of approximately 500,000. The primary purpose of the DVPC is to develop an effective approach for reducing family violence in the city. This public-private multilevel collaborative partnership includes representatives of the police department; the district attorney's office; the county attorney's office; the city attorney's office; probation and juvenile probation; parole; the military; the school district; the Council of Judges; State, county, and municipal legal assistance; the battered women's shelter; the YMCA; the transitional living center; the clergy; and other volunteer services. In addition to the DVPC, the police department established a Domestic Violence Prevention Coordination Unit (DVPCU) for the primary purpose of implementing a multifaceted approach to combating family violence in the city based on recommendations from the DVPC. The current study involved a process evaluation of this multiagency collaboration. The evaluation sought to determine whether individuals from relatively autonomous agencies can work together to counter family violence, the extent to which "collaboration" was realized, and lessons from this case study that might aid other collaborative efforts on this issue. Focus group interviews and archival research were the primary methods used to assess the interagency effort. The evaluation found that although the collaborative strategy and structure holds promise for reducing domestic violence against women, various obstacles have impeded collaboration in both planning and implementation phases of the project. The obstacles have included "turfism;" lack of leadership; perceptions among commission members that the police department might dominate commission activities; organizational problems; the absence of key individual leaders; and the marginalization of representatives of non-police agencies and organizations. These obstacles have turned the planning process into negotiations among representatives regarding the appropriate roles of their organizations and agencies in the planning and implementation of a strategy for countering domestic violence. These findings suggest that team-building is an important preparatory step before effective collaboration can occur. Implications of these findings are drawn for researchers and for practitioners. 5 references

Date Published: January 1, 2004