Domestic Violence: Strategic Safety Planning. Camero A. Logan, 2013: Action Research Project, Keuka College, Master of Science Degree Program in Criminal Justice Administration.
The major purpose of the research project was to examine whether strategic safety planning in intimate partner relationships reduces the propensity of violence and its effectiveness in victims overall safety. This was based upon the alternate hypothesis that safety planning greatly reduces the propensity of violence in intimate partner relationships because it initiates the application of risk assessment tools; which create a checklist of options for victims seeking to leave their abusers. Therefore, the project was designed to survey domestic violence counselors who use various forms of safety planning about their thoughts on current safety planning strategies that are used. The project also sought information from respondents regarding individual risk assessments prior to safety planning.
The findings revealed several key points. Respondents felt strongly that safety planning reduces the propensity for violence compared to victims who didn’t have a safety plan in place for themselves. When respondents were asked whether victims significantly underestimate their risk of danger in intimate partner relationships they responded with strongly agree. The respondents disagreed in terms of a victim creating a safety plan for all intimate partner relationships
The respondents strongly agreed that risk assessments are vital in screening for potential abuse regardless of current abuse history. The respondents were presented with questions regarding the association between violence and drugs/alcohol; the responses given were equally divided from strongly agree to neutral. When respondents were asked if safety planning saves lives there was a unanimous consensus in favor of strongly agree.
Several conclusions were drawn from the culmination of the research as follows. Domestic violence case managers believe that safety planning reduces the propensity of violence in intimate partner relationships. However, there is a strong consensus among the respondents that victims of prior abuse significantly underestimate their risk of danger or death. The research further indicated that victims underestimate the severity of emotional, psychological, financial and social abuse in an intimate relationship. Survey responses concluded that risk assessments were necessary in screening for abuse and potential abuse of victims. Respondents agreed that safety planning saves lives and should be discussed whether a victim decides to leave or stay with an abuser.
The recommendations that the research supported are for extended research and implementation of risk assessments and safety planning to be conducted on campuses and in schools. The goal of safety planning is to give victims options as well as confidence that they can leave an abusive relationship. Additionally, domestic violence can be hidden and reaching out into communities, campuses and cities has the potential to alleviate the embarrassment and shame that has been associated with this epidemic for so long.