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Confronting Chronic Neglect: The Education and Training of Health Professionals on Family Violence
gesting that training is positively associated with greater knowledge about family violence, stronger feelings of comfort and self-efficacy about interacting with battered women, and greater intentions to screen for intimate partner violence. When training is grounded in models of behavior change and how individuals learn, the data allow more confident determination of a link between training and increases in knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intentions. Furthermore, for those training efforts aimed at practitioners, participants typically outperform their counterparts who did not receive such training in terms of increased rates of screening and identification—at least in the short term and up to two years after training. The same can be said for outcomes associated with safety planning, referrals for necessary services, and other clinical variables (e.g., patient satisfaction).
The available evidence also strongly indicates that training by itself, however, is not sufficient in terms of producing the desired outcomes. Unless the clinical settings display commitment to having their staff address the problem of family violence and provide the resources to do it, the effects of training will be short lasting and possibly erode over time. This suggests that training cannot be seen as a one-shot endeavor (e.g., a course in medical or social work school) and must include those who are responsible for creating the necessary infrastructure to support and reward practitioners for paying attention to identifying and intervening with family violence victims. Although the evidence for this conclusion derives mostly from evaluations of intimate partner violence training efforts, it is likely that the same could be said about child and elder maltreatment training activities.
Evaluation of the impact of training in family violence on health professional practice and effects on victims has received insufficient attention.
Few evaluative studies indicate whether the existing curricula are having the desired impact.
When evaluations are done, they often do not utilize experimental designs (randomized controlled trials and group randomized trials) necessary to determine training effectiveness. Also lacking are high-quality quasi-experimental designs necessary to provide a more complete understanding about the relationship of training to outcomes.
In addition to effective training on family violence, a supportive environment appears to be critically important to producing desirable outcomes.