Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 537–549 | Cite as

“No Sacred Cows or Bulls”: The Story of the Domestic Violence Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (DVPERC)

  • Kristie A. ThomasEmail author
  • Lisa A. Goodman
  • Elizabeth Schön Vainer
  • Deborah Heimel
  • Ronit Barkai
  • Deborah Collins-Gousby
Original Article


The Domestic Violence Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (DVPERC) was formed in Massachusetts in 2011 as an effort to connect research and practice. Initially, we consisted of a few programs and researchers, but we quickly evolved into a regional collaboration spanning several states. From the outset, we have followed community-based participatory research values, including co-learning, power sharing, and relationship-building. Several aspects of DVPERC make it unique. Our collaboration is informal, ongoing, and comprised of an array of programs, practitioners, and researchers. Although we are abundant in number, we are regional in scope, which allows for regular, in-person meetings. In this article, we describe the history of DVPERC, the five elements of the DVPERC model, and the model’s inherent benefits and limitations. Throughout, we infuse our practitioner and researcher perspectives on DVPERC involvement. We hope our honest description of DVPERC assists others interested in launching their own CBPR practitioner-researcher partnerships.


Community-based participatory research Domestic violence Intimate partner violence Practitioner-researcher partnerships 



The authors would like to thank each and every one of the many practitioners and researchers who have participated in DVPERC over the years. Your invaluable contributions have shaped the ever-evolving nature of the group, its work, and the positive impact it has on domestic violence research and practice. In addition, we would like to thank the special issue guest editors and the anonymous reviewers for providing such helpful and insightful feedback throughout the review process.


  1. Bloom, T., Wagman, J., Hernandez, R., Yragui, N., Hernandez-Valdovinos, N., Dahlstrom, M., & Glass, N. (2009). Partnering with community-based organizations to reduce intimate partner violence. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 31(2), 244–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burke, J. G., Hess, S., Hoffmann, K., Guizzetti, L., Loy, E., Gielen, A., et al. (2013). Translating community-based participatory research principles into practice. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 7(2), 115–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cattaneo, L. B., & Goodman, L. A. (2015). What is empowerment anyway? A model for domestic violence practice, research, and evaluation. Psychology of Violence, 5, 84–94. Scholar
  4. Davidson, M. M., & Bowen, N. (2011). Academia meets community agency: How to foster positive collaboration in domestic violence and sexual assault work. Journal of Family Violence, 26(4), 309–318. Scholar
  5. Edleson, J. L., & Bible, A. L. (2001). Collaborating for women's safety. In C. Renzetti, J. Edleson, & R. Bergen (Eds.), Sourcebook on violence against women (pp. 73–95). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  6. Fleck-Henderson, A. (2017). From Movement to Mainstream. Affilia, 32(4), 476–490. Scholar
  7. Gilfus, M., Fineran, S., Cohan, D., Jensen, S., Hartwick, L., & Spath, R. (1999). Research on violence against women: Creating survivor-informed collaborations. Violence Against Women, 5, 1194–1212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goodman, L. A., Bennett Cattaneo, L., Thomas, K., Woulfe, J., Chong, S. K., & Fels Smyth, K. (2015a). Advancing domestic violence program evaluation: Development and validation of the Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS). Psychology of Violence, 5(4), 355–366. Scholar
  9. Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K. A., & Heimel, D. (2015b). A guide for using the Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS). Available at:
  10. Goodman, L. A., Sullivan, C. M., Serrata, J., Perilla, J., Wilson, J. M., Fauci, J. E., & DiGiovanni, C. D. (2016a). Development and validation of the Trauma-Informed Practice Scales. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(6), 747–764. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K., Cattaneo, L. B., Heimel, D., Woulfe, J., & Chong, S. K. (2016b). Survivor-defined practice in domestic violence work: Measure development and preliminary evidence of link to empowerment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31, 163–185. Scholar
  12. Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K. A., Nnawulezi, N., Lippy, C., Serrata, J. V., Ghanbarpour, S., et al. (2017a). Bringing community based participatory research to domestic violence scholarship: An online toolkit. Journal of Family Violence, 33(2), 103–107. Scholar
  13. Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K. A., Serrata, J. V., Lippy, C., Nnawulezi, N., Ghanbarpour, S., et al. (2017b). Bringing community based participatory research to intimate partner violence research: A toolkit for emerging researchers. Harrisburg, PA: National Resource Center on Domestic Violence Available at Scholar
  14. Hamberger, L. K., & Ambuel, B. (2000). Community collaboration to develop research programs in partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 4(1), 239–272. Scholar
  15. Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. J., Parker, E. A., & Becker, A. B. (1998). Review of community-based research: Assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 19, 173–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jagosh, J., Bush, P. L., Salsberg, J., Macaulay, A. C., Greenhalgh, T., Wong, G., et al. (2015). A realist evaluation of community-based participatory research: partnership synergy, trust building and related ripple effects. BMC Public Health, 1–11.
  17. Kim, M. E. (2013). Challenging the pursuit of criminalisation in an era of mass incarceration: The limitations of social work responses to domestic violence in the USA. British Journal of Social Work, 43(7), 1276–1293. Scholar
  18. Lewis-O’Connor, A., & Chadwick, M. (2015). Engaging the voice of patients affected by gender-based violence: Informing Practice and Policy. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 11(4), 240–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lehrner, A., & Allen, N. E. (2009). Still a movement after all these years? Current tensions in the domestic violence movement. Violence Against Women, 15, 656–677. Scholar
  20. Maciak, B. J., Guzman, R., Santiago, A., Villalobos, G., & Israel, B. A. (1999). Establishing LA VIDA: a community-based partnership to prevent intimate violence against Latina women. Health Education & Behavior, 26, 821–840. Scholar
  21. Macy, R. J., & Goodbourn, M. (2012). Promoting successful collaborations between domestic violence and substance abuse treatment service sectors: A review of the literature. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 13(4), 234–251. Scholar
  22. Macy, R. J., Giattina, M. C., Parish, S. L., & Crosby, C. (2009). Domestic violence and sexual assault services: Historical concerns and contemporary challenges. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 3–32. Scholar
  23. Mehrotra, G. R., Kimball, E., & Wahab, S. (2016). The braid that binds us: The impact of neoliberalism, criminalization, and professionalization on domestic violence work. Affilia, 31(2), 153–163. Scholar
  24. Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (2010). Community-based participatory research contributions to intervention research: The intersection of science and practice to improve health equity. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 40–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mouradian, V. E., Mechanic, M., & Williams, L. M. (2001). Recommendations for establishing and maintaining successful researcher-practitioner collaborations. Wellesley, MA: National Violence Against Women Research Center. In Wellesley College.Google Scholar
  26. National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. (2001). Fostering collaborations to prevent violence against women: Integrating findings from practitioner and researcher focus groups. Charleston, SC: Author.Google Scholar
  27. Paradiso de Sayu, R., & Chanmugam, A. (2015). Perceptions of empowerment within and across partnerships in community-based participatory research. Qualitative Health Research, 26(1), 105–116. Scholar
  28. Phillips, H., Lyon, E., Fabri, M., & Warshaw, C. (2015). Promising practices and model programs: Trauma-informed approaches to working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and other trauma. Chicago, IL: National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health.Google Scholar
  29. Prabhu, A. F. (2017, May). The need to reclaim space: A survey of positions held by women of color in the anti-violence movement in Massachusetts. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Women of Color Network.Google Scholar
  30. Ragavan, M. I., Thomas, K., Medzhitova, J., Brewer, N., Goodman, L. A., & Bair-Merritt, M. (2018). A systematic review of community-based research interventions for domestic violence survivors. Psychology of Violence.
  31. Richie, B. (2012). Arrested justice: Black women, violence, and America's prison nation. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Schechter, S. (1982). Women and male violence: The visions and struggles of the battered women's movement. Boston: South End Press.Google Scholar
  33. Schechter, S. (2017). Building bridges between activists, professionals, and researchers. In K. Yllo & M. Bograd (Eds.), Feminist perspectives on wife abuse (pp. 299–312). Newbury Park: SAGE.Google Scholar
  34. Serrata, J. V., Macias, R. L., Rosales, A., Hernandez-Martinez, M., Rodriguez, R., & Perilla, J. L. (2017). Expanding evidence-based practice models for domestic violence initiatives: A community-centered approach. Psychology of Violence, 7(1), 158–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Slattery, S. M., & Goodman, L. A. (2009). Secondary traumatic stress among domestic violence advocates: Workplace risk and protective factors. Violence Against Women, 15(11), 1358–1379. Scholar
  36. Sullivan, C. M. (2011). Evaluating domestic violence support service programs: Waste of time, necessary evil, or opportunity for growth? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 16(4), 354–360. Scholar
  37. Sullivan, C. M., & Goodman, L. (2015). Guide for Using the Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) Scales. Available at:
  38. Sullivan, M., Bhuyan, R., Senturia, K., Shiu-Thornton, S., & Ciske, S. (2005). Participatory action research in practice: A case study in addressing domestic violence in nine cultural communities. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(8), 977–995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sullivan, T. P., Price, C., McPartland, T., Hunter, B. A., & Fisher, B. S. (2017). The Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Study (RPPS): Experiences from criminal justice system collaborations studying violence against women. Violence Against Women, 23(7), 887–907. Scholar
  40. Thomas, K. A., & So, M. (2016). Lost in limbo: An exploratory study of homeless mothers' experiences and needs at Emergency Assistance Hotels. Families in Society, 97(2), 120–131. Scholar
  41. Yoshihama, M., & Carr, E. S. (2002). Community participation reconsidered: Feminist participatory action research with Hmong women. Journal of Community Practice, 10, 85–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yoshihama, M., Ramakrishnan, A., Hammock, A. C., & Khaliq, M. (2012). Intimate partner violence prevention program in an Asian Immigrant community: Integrating theories, data, and community. Violence Against Women, 18(7), 763–783.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yuan, N. P., Gaines, T. L., Jones, L. M., Rodrigues, L. M., & Hamilton, N. (2016). Bridging the gap between research and practice by strengthening academic-community partnerships for violence research. Psychology of Violence, 6(1), 27–33. Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simmons College School of Social WorkBostonUSA
  2. 2.Boston CollegeBostonUSA
  3. 3.Journey to SafetyJewish Family & Children’s ServiceWalthamUSA
  4. 4.REACH Beyond Domestic ViolenceWalthamUSA
  5. 5.Transition HouseCambridgeUSA
  6. 6.Brookview House and Casa Myrna, Inc.BostonUSA

Personalised recommendations