National Center for Children Exposed to Violence

Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention Project

The Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention Project (DVHVI) is a component of the CDCP Program that focuses on the specific needs of children and families affected by domestic violence. The DVHVI was developed to address the complex and intertwined legal, psychological and practical issues that confront many families that experience domestic violence. Children exposed to domestic violence are of particular concern because they are at very high risk of psychological and behavioral difficulties, but they are often overlooked by parents and professionals. The DVHVI aims to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of violence by increasing families’ safety and security, reducing children’s repeat exposure to escalating episodes of violence and by increasing their access to supportive services in the community. The cornerstone of the DVHVI is home visit outreach by teams of police officers and domestic violence advocates to households in which there has been an incident of domestic violence reported to the police. The general purposes of home visit follow-up are to:

  • assist in immediate safety planning;
  • provide information regarding the criminal justice system and other available services;
  • establish personal contact between families and local officers;
  • enhance enforcement of domestic violence laws;
  • increase parents’ awareness of children’s responses to potentially traumatic events; and
  • facilitate connections between families and community services, including mental health assessment and treatment for affected children

A comprehensive evaluation of the DVHVI was conducted in 2006-7, with funding from SAMHSA and the Ethyl Donahue Foundation, with positive results.