Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 32, Issue 8, pp 775–785 | Cite as

Development and Initial Evaluation of a Suicide Prevention Curriculum for Domestic Violence Hotline Workers

  • Wendi F. Cross
  • Hugh F. Crean
  • Madelyn S. Gould
  • Jacquelyn Campbell
  • Norma Amezcua
  • Katie Ray Jones
  • Jennifer Thompson-Stone
  • Catherine Cerulli
Original Article


Despite evidence of an intersection between suicide risk and intimate partner violence (IPV), crisis hotlines tend to focus on callers at-risk for suicide or callers involved in IPV, but not both. In an effort to begin to address this gap, we developed and conducted an initial pilot test of a suicide prevention curriculum for hotline workers at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), highlighting the intersection of these two public health issues. A mixed methods approach was used as a first step to assess the impact of the 3-h suicide prevention training for 42 domestic violence hotline workers. Results showed significant increase in knowledge regarding suicide risk from pre to post-training and a high degree of satisfaction among attendees. Focus groups conducted with hotline workers 3 months after training indicated a greater willingness to engage callers in suicide screening and prevention efforts. A 6-month follow-up focus group with NDVH managers revealed that suicide prevention had become more integrated in the agency culture, a finding that was consistent with an environmental scan of the workplace that showed an increase in displays of suicide prevention information. In sum, suicide prevention training can be feasibly incorporated into domestic violence hotline workers’ roles. Limitations and suggestions for future studies are discussed.


Intimate partner violence Domestic violence hotline Suicide prevention Training Mixed-methods 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendi F. Cross
    • 1
  • Hugh F. Crean
    • 1
  • Madelyn S. Gould
    • 2
  • Jacquelyn Campbell
    • 3
  • Norma Amezcua
    • 4
  • Katie Ray Jones
    • 4
  • Jennifer Thompson-Stone
    • 1
  • Catherine Cerulli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.National Domestic Violence HotlineAustinUSA

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