on curricular content; limited funding interferes with evaluation; and legal, ethical, and patient barriers complicate evaluation efforts (e.g., Gagan, 1999; Sugg et al., 1999; Waalen et al., 2000).
Although this lack of evaluation is not unique to family violence training, increasing the number and quality of training opportunities in family violence has consistently been cited as central to narrowing the gap between recommended practices and professional behavior. To understand what improvements should be made, a strong evidential base for deciding how best to educate providers in this area is needed.
This chapter examines the available research base concerning the outcomes and effectiveness of family violence training. First, we summarize the search strategy used to locate and include evaluations of training interventions and then describe the characteristics of the training strategies and models that have been assessed, along with the basic features of the evaluation measures and designs. Finally, we discuss the inferences we can confidently draw from these studies so as to guide future training efforts. Due to the dearth of published studies on elder abuse training, the focus is on outcomes and effectiveness of child abuse and intimate partner violence training.
Four bibliographic databases were systematically searched for studies that evaluated training efforts in family violence and were published prior to November 2000. These included MEDLINE, PsycInfo, ERIC, and Sociological Abstracts. Search terms included family violence, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, elder abuse/neglect, and child abuse/neglect coupled with training, assessment, evaluation, detection, and identification as both subject terms and text words. These searches were augmented by published bibliographies (i.e., Glazer et al., 1997). The reference lists of all chosen articles also were screened for additional studies.1
This strategy identified 64 potential studies, the majority of which focused on intimate partner violence training (n = 38, or 59 percent). Another 31 percent (n = 20) addressed training efforts in child abuse and neglect, while only 9
The unpublished literature was also examined for evaluation efforts, including formal committee requests to outside groups (e.g., relevant professional associations, government agencies, foundations, and advocacy groups). This uncovered the recent evaluation of the WomanKind program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Short et al., 2000), which was included in the set of studies reviewed. The evaluation of the Family Violence Prevention Fund training initiative has not yet been completed.