About the Research Basis for "Safety Strategies"
This web-site is a result of our research that involved a series of nine focus group with domestic violence service providers from across central North Carolina. These service providers included staff of battered women's shelters, victim advocates, facilitators of batterer intervention programs, mental health professionals, and other allied professionals. The focus groups were held on-site at domestic violence agencies, and the agencies were diverse in the types of clients they served, whether or not they had shelters, their location (i.e., rural and urban), and whether the agencies were standalone domestic violence agencies or housed other services.
Across the nine focus groups, we had 62 participants, so the average group size was about seven people per group. Participants had extensive experience working with clients impacted by domestic violence, and the average number of years that participants had worked in any job related to domestic violence was about 7 and a half years. Some professionals had been working in the field for much longer than that.
Our research team members facilitated the focus groups, which we recorded and then transcribed. We then conducted a rigorous data analysis process that involved developing a comprehensive coding system based on the themes that were identified in the data. The final coding scheme included five categories: (a) safety risks for victims; (b) safety planning in a community context; (c) agency policies, procedures, and forms for safety planning, including service providers’ perceptions of them; (d) safety considerations and planning for children; and (e) a “no code” option for statements for which no other codes are applicable. Within the first four categories, there were secondary codes reflecting sub-themes within the larger categories.
From there, each transcript was coded by 3 research team members, and we used the final codes to organize the data so that we could develop meaningful recommendations for practice. We then wrote up the results of our study in the more traditional format of peer-reviewed journal manuscripts (currently, both are under review).
In addition, we knew that we wanted to build a practitioner-oriented resource that integrated the findings of our studies and make them accessible and useful to the field. We are grateful to the agencies who participated in our research and shared their resources and wisdom with us.