Journal Issue: Domestic Violence and Children Volume 9 Number 3 Winter 1999
Domestic violence has been part of the fabric of many societies and cultures worldwide—it is so commonplace, in fact, that it has often gone unnoticed and failed to receive the level of concern it deserves in light of the devastating effects it can have on children and families. (For information about the effects of domestic violence on children, see the article by Fantuzzo and Mohr in this journal issue.) When there have been societal responses to domestic violence, they have been largely centered on crisis intervention, on providing services to individuals and families already impacted by domestic violence in order to prevent further harm.1
While crisis intervention is a necessary response to domestic violence and can be highly effective at particular points in time, it alone cannot address the complex dynamics of domestic violence. There is also a strong need for proactive strategies of prevention. Recent changes in public policy, legislation, and service delivery illustrate a growing commitment to finding ways to reduce the harmful effects of domestic violence.2 However, few comprehensive strategies that address the prevention of domestic violence have been developed, and even fewer have been evaluated.
This article describes theoretical frameworks, including two public health models, that can inform the future development of domestic violence prevention strategies. It also provides examples of innovative prevention strategies currently being implemented across the country, and discusses results from evaluations, when available.