The study had four main goals:
- Learn more about what domestic violence survivors want when they come to programs for supportive services, the extent to which survivors have had their service expectations met, and survivors' assessment of immediate outcomes associated with the services they receive.
- Learn more about how survivors' experiences, needs and immediate outcomes vary across demographic and domestic violence program characteristics.
- Identify multi-level factors associated with survivors' positive service experiences.
- Develop recommendations for domestic violence programs across the country for how they might improve their services.
A total of 1,467 survivors completed surveys (Survivor Survey Data) over a 9 month period, from April 1, 2010 through December 30, 2010. Participating programs were asked to distribute the surveys to all survivors who met certain criteria every other week. In order to encourage survivors to participate, each program was asked to design and implement a schedule and routine for talking to survivors about the study.
Every program was provided with written guidelines for staff on how survivors should be invited to participate. The survey was translated into Spanish and nine additional languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The survey was available in three formats: paper, electronically, and orally. All programs were provide with hardcopy paper versions of the survey, in all the languages they indicated they would need. In order to ensure that survivors would know that their survey responses were not being read by the program staff that provided their services, each survivor was also provided with a self-addressed stamped envelope addressed to the "DV Study Research Staff" at the University of Connecticut. This envelope was stapled to the paper survey and the survivor was instructed to place their completed survey in the envelope once they had finished. The survivors had the option of mailing the seal envelope themselves, or dropping it off in a designated area within the program, where it would be mailed by program staff weekly.
The survey was made available electronically online in order to address the needs of persons with visual impairments who might need the font in a larger format, and to accommodate survivors who might prefer this format for other reasons. The online survey was hosted by SurveyMonkey and available in both English and Spanish. Programs were encouraged to make internet-accessible computers in a private space available to survivors, where possible.
Finally, the survey was available for oral administration for those with low literacy or for those who needed the survey in a different language than the eleven provided. Oral administration was available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline, with additional languages available via the Language Line.
Training for the study coordinators and participating program staff was provided through a series of webinars. These webinars reviewed the foundation of the study, the study goals, study forms and materials, guidelines for how to invite survivors to participate, and how to get started. Conference call were held bi-weekly throughout the first six months of survey data collection, and monthly through the final three months. Each program completed a brief survey (Program Survey Data) that included questions about the programs' capacity, clientele, and services provided.
The criteria for participation in the study (Survivor Survey Data n=1,467) were:
- the survivor had a minimum of two face-to-face contacts with program staff within the past year;
- the survivor was not currently using residential services with this program; and
- the survivor was not currently in crisis.
Programs (Program Survey Data n=90) in Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington were recruited through contact with the domestic violence coalitions in each identified state. In addition, programs were recruited by representatives of four major national cultural institutes and organizations: the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, Casa de Esperanza, the Institute of Domestic Violence in the African American Community, and the Women of Color Network. Programs had to have a focus on providing domestic violence services (such as advocacy, counseling, support groups) and be identified as such, have the ability to discuss and administer surveys safely, provide services with at least some in-person contact, be community based, and have some continuity.
The universe for the Survivor Survey Data is all survivors of domestic violence participating in non-residential programs in the United States between April and December 2010. The universe for the Program Survey Data is all non-residential domestic violence programs operating in the United States between April and December 2010.
The Survivor Survey Data (n=1,467, 167 variables) includes variables on how the survivor learned of the program, when they first came to the program, how often they came, and what type of services they received from the program. Demographic variables include age, gender, sexual orientation, race, level of education, preferred language, financial situation, and disability status.
The Program Survey Data (n=90, 297 variables) includes variables on the total number of staff, staff demographics (i.e. age, race, and gender), number of volunteers, languages spoken by staff and volunteers, funding sources, client demographic characteristics, and types of services provided by the program.
Response rates for the Survivor Survey Data are not available. For the Program Survey Data a total of 290 programs were contacted about the study and invited to participate. A total of 90 programs actively participated, for a participation rate of 31 percent.
Both the Survivor Survey Data and the Program Survey Data include several Likert-type scales.