American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 208-221

First online:

Councils as Empowering Contexts: Mobilizing the Front Line to Foster Systems Change in the Response to Intimate Partner Violence

  • Shabnam JavdaniAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email author 
  • , Nicole E. AllenAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Collaborative approaches to change are common, and though evidence for their effectiveness is equivocal, there is growing support that councils facilitate desired changes in the systems response to intimate partner violence. Questions remain regarding the specific mechanisms by which this change is facilitated, and recent work has focused on examining the intermediate processes through which councils may produce more distal change. One such mechanism relates to the potential of councils to be empowering contexts for their membership, often comprised of front-line providers and responders. The present study examines what factors are positively related to perceived individual empowerment as an outcome for members, and importantly, considers not only perceived council context, but also the perceived organizational contexts in which each council member is employed. Study findings suggest that both contexts—council and organizational—are important when considering the degree to which members are empowered. Specifically, member participation, council leadership, and supportive council and organizational climates are significantly positively related to the degree to which councils function as empowering contexts. However, the effect of belonging to a council with a supportive climate, characterized in particular by shared power in decision-making, is stronger when members are from high organizational support settings versus low support settings.


Coordinating council Collaboration Coordination Coalition Empowerment Empowering Climate Organizational climate Systems change Domestic violence Intimate partner violence