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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Prevention of IPV: Victim Support Team Evaluation

FOA Number: CE03-024 - Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 09/30/03–09/29/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE023116-01
Principal Investigator: Mary A. Kernic, PhD, MPH
University of Washington
Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center
325 9th Avenue, Box 359960
Seattle, WA 98104-2499
Phone: 206-521-1556
Fax: 206-521-1562


Many studies have evaluated interventions for IPV, but they have lacked rigorous designs, critically affecting their interpretability. This study seeks to address this gap by evaluating the preventive effects of an existing crisis intervention program, the Victim Support Team (VST), developed through the Seattle Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit to meet the needs of victims immediately after an incident of police-reported IPV. Team members assist victims by identifying needed resources (e.g., emergency shelter, domestic violence agency services, food and clothing), providing relevant referrals, and developing a safety plan. The VST is also intended to alleviate some of the burden of attending to victim needs thereby allowing responding officers additional time to focus on investigating the crime. This, in turn, is intended to provide better evidence collection for increasing the odds of successful prosecution.

The broad aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of Seattle’s Domestic Violence VST in lessening future adverse outcomes by promoting improved evidence collection, prosecution, and access to preventive services related to IPV. The investigation will be accomplished through two complementary projects: a retrospective cohort to examine long-term uncommon adverse outcomes and a smaller randomized controlled trial examining short-term, more frequently occurring outcomes. The specific aims of the retrospective component are—

  1. To compare the relative risk of subsequent incidents of police-involved IPV incidents among victims receiving VST services with that among victims not receiving these services;
  2. To estimate the relative risk in measures of police evidence collection (e.g., proportion of cases with photos and victim statements taken) among cases where VST services were involved as compared with cases without these services;
  3. To estimate the relative risk of adverse outcomes including hospitalizations and death resulting from abuse-related injury.