Social Science Update: What interventions are effective for dealing with intimate partner violence?

In 2009, social scientists looked at intimate partner violence studies. They classified these studies in groups according to the primary treatment focus. This included the perpetrator, victim, couple, or child-witness. The study examined at least 20 participants per group.

This study found that most treatments for intimate partner violence reported little benefit over arrest alone. Rates of reoffending in most perpetrator and partner-focused treatments was 30% within six months regardless of the strategy of intervention. The lowest rates of re-offense were found when the couple was treated and substance abuse was also targeted. Child trauma treatment was also effective in reducing children’s symptoms secondary to intimate partner violence.

In interventions, dropout is a significant factor in the treatment of perpetrators. Coordination of advocacy for victims and dual parent-child trauma focused treatment along with perpetrator intervention may yield the best overall outcomes for families who are impacted by intimate partner violence.

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