how best to respond, and inform and improve the education and practice of health care professionals.
Variation in the definitions, data sources, and methods used in research on family violence has resulted in inconsistent and unclear evidence about its magnitude and severity, as well as its effects on the health care system and society.
As noted in previous reports published by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, Understanding Violence Against Women, Violence in Families: Assessing Prevention and Treatment Programs), clarity regarding definitions used to describe family violence is essential in order to compare studies and generalize from one setting to another. Similarly, clarity and consistency in data sources and research methods are needed to accurately describe the prevalence of family violence as encountered in health care settings and the health care needs of victims. Such an evidence base could shed new light on the roles of health professionals and their opportunities to intervene and respond more effectively to family violence and also provide a foundation for their more effective education.
Funding for research, education development and testing, and curricular evaluation on family violence is fragmented, and information about funding sources is not systematically available. No consistent federal sources of support for education research on family violence appear to exist.
As the committee’s review of existing programs and funding sources revealed, program development and funding for family violence programs are scattered among agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. Among these agencies are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration on Children and Families, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Justice Programs. These federal agencies, departments, and offices share a mandate to address family violence, but the committee found that often one agency was unaware of either projects or funding opportunities for research and programs on family violence in other agencies. The fragmented information on funding is difficult to access for researchers and educators and others attempting to develop and conduct research, design training and practice interventions, and evaluate programs. The information must be collected piecemeal from numerous web sites and federal agency officials, making it difficult to determine if and when funds are available. Furthermore, while the committee was able to identify some sources of funding for intervention and training, we could find no consistent sources for federal support of education research on family