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Promising Programs

In separate working groups, participants identified key elements of programs that can address the range of issues outlined above. The program ideas were organized to reflect the most promising activities in the area of health, social services, and criminal justice that are already under way or under consideration in federal, state, and local governments.

SOCIAL SERVICES

The social services working group identified five tasks that need to be implemented to address the problem of family violence:

  1. A set of management and design principles should be articulated as the basis for social interventions in responding to family violence or in offering services to prevent its occurrence. These principles should include such objectives as empowering the client, building on family strengths, using research evaluations of program effectiveness in developing program design, and so forth.

  2. A system of universal screening for all new parents is needed to identify areas of family need and also provide voluntary home visitation services for families who would benefit from additional support in dealing with child behavior issues.

  3. Comprehensive intervention and prevention systems that can build



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Violence and the American Family: Report of a Workshop Promising Programs In separate working groups, participants identified key elements of programs that can address the range of issues outlined above. The program ideas were organized to reflect the most promising activities in the area of health, social services, and criminal justice that are already under way or under consideration in federal, state, and local governments. SOCIAL SERVICES The social services working group identified five tasks that need to be implemented to address the problem of family violence: A set of management and design principles should be articulated as the basis for social interventions in responding to family violence or in offering services to prevent its occurrence. These principles should include such objectives as empowering the client, building on family strengths, using research evaluations of program effectiveness in developing program design, and so forth. A system of universal screening for all new parents is needed to identify areas of family need and also provide voluntary home visitation services for families who would benefit from additional support in dealing with child behavior issues. Comprehensive intervention and prevention systems that can build

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Violence and the American Family: Report of a Workshop on and strengthen formal and informal social networks in diverse neighborhoods are needed at the community level. School programs should include mandatory education for violence prevention. Income supplements are an important means of deterring violence that results from economic stress. New methods of cash payments for families with children should be explored to assist communities during periods of unemployment or economic change. HEALTH There is tremendous interest in developing a comprehensive effort to document the extensive costs of injuries that result from family violence and to prevent the occurrence of such injuries. The working group identified three specific initiatives: A national campaign against violence is needed to focus on the health aspects and costs of family violence in our society. Such a campaign would include public examination of research on such issues as gun control, the use of corporal punishment, and violence in the media. The quality of screening and diagnosis of risks and injuries associated with family violence needs to be improved. Health and mental health professionals require both training and encouragement to include discussions of victimization experiences and safety issues (such as “don't shake the baby”) in their interviews and examinations of patients. An integrated approach to family violence needs to be promoted by building consensus about what is known regarding the nature of injuries and the health costs associated with spousal violence, child abuse, and abuse of the elderly and the overlap between different forms of family violence. This consensus-building effort could lead to the formation of a constituency that would serve as an advocacy group to educate public officials on the physical and mental health dimensions of family violence. CRIMINAL JUSTICE The criminal justice group considered aspects of family violence that relate to law enforcement and the administration of justice. This group identified three issues that represent significant opportunities for addressing the problem of family violence: The effects of the use and enforcement of restraining orders to deal with domestic violence need to be evaluated. New initiatives in offender control have been proposed (such as the use of electronic monitors) that

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Violence and the American Family: Report of a Workshop represent research opportunities to learn more about the effectiveness and effects of monitoring on reducing harm among different population groups. The criminal justice and social service system responses to child abuse and neglect need to be evaluated by studying the availability and effects of court-ordered treatment and the effects of returning abusers to their families, especially in cases of child sexual abuse. New proposals that experiment with the development of a one-family, one-judge court system need to be considered for cases of family violence and juvenile delinquency. Such an approach could ensure continuing oversight and consideration of complex environmental factors that affect family behavior. Such a court system would also highlight the importance of family experiences in the consideration of other types of community violence.