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Domestic violence and criminal justice training needs of social services workers


  • Payne, Brian K.


Domestic violence is a multifaceted problem that requires various agencies to work together to serve victims. Among other agencies that are involved in this collaborative effort, criminal justice officials must work with social services workers to ensure that cases are handled effectively. At the root of this collaborative effort, it is natural to question whether various parties have the knowledge needed to effectively respond to specific cases of domestic violence. In this study, attention was given to whether social workers possessed enough knowledge about various aspects of domestic violence, including information required to process domestic violence cases in the criminal justice system. In all, 186 social services worker supervisors in the Commonwealth of Virginia were asked to rate the level of knowledge they believed social services workers had regarding specific domestic violence topics with the level of knowledge workers they believed social workers needed regarding each domestic violence topic. Findings suggested that social services workers might have more problems dealing with the interpersonal nature of domestic violence cases than they do with the legal issues. At the same time, the supervisors suggested the workers knew less about specific legal options than they needed to know. Based on this, the authors suggest changes in training for all human services workers, including criminal justice officials and social workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Payne, Brian K., 2008. "Domestic violence and criminal justice training needs of social services workers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 190-197, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:36:y::i:2:p:190-197

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Morgan, Etta & Johnson, Ida & Sigler, Robert, 2006. "Public definitions and endorsement of the criminalization of elder abuse," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 275-283.
    2. Feder, Lynette, 1996. "Police handling of domestic calls: The importance of offender's presence in the arrest decision," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 481-490.
    3. Johnson, Ida M. & Sigler, Robert T., 1995. "Community attitudes: A study of definitions and punishment of spouse abusers and child abusers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 477-487.
    4. Johnson, Ida M. & Sigler, Robert T., 2000. "Public perceptions The stability of the public's endorsements of the definition and criminalization of the abuse of women," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 165-179.
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    1. Payne, Brian K. & Higgins, George E. & Blackwell, Brenda, 2010. "Exploring the link between self-control and partner violence: Bad parenting or general criminals," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 1015-1021, September.

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