Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 47–54 | Cite as

It’s Tricky …”: Intimate Partner Violence Service Providers’ Perspectives of Assessments and Referrals by Child Welfare Workers

  • Annelise Mennicke
  • Lisa Langenderfer-Magruder
  • Lindsey MacConnie
Original Article


The present study explored the perceptions of workers who provide intimate partner violence (IPV) services regarding child welfare workers’ IPV assessment and referral processes. Data from four focus groups was interrogated to find common themes. A total of 27 individuals participated in the focus groups, working in the community, shelters, and prisons/jails. Participants primarily expressed concerns regarding child welfare workers’ practices. IPV providers perceived child welfare workers as incompetent in performing IPV assessments and making referrals. IPV workers also perceived that some child welfare workers engaged in dismissive, manipulative, or coercive behaviors when working with IPV victims. While the present findings are not generalizable, they speak to the tension frequently noted between victim services and child welfare. Child welfare agencies should consider ongoing, trauma-informed training for IPV assessment to help increase worker self-efficacy in performing these tasks. Local, interdisciplinary trainings including both IPV and child welfare providers may be particularly useful to promote better understanding of each provider’s role in cases with co-occurring IPV and child maltreatment concerns, which may help to reduce tensions between the intersecting service systems.


Intimate partner violence Assessment Referral Screening Child welfare 



This work was supported, in part, by funds provided by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annelise Mennicke
    • 1
  • Lisa Langenderfer-Magruder
    • 2
  • Lindsey MacConnie
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.College of Social WorkFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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