The co-occurrence of adult domestic violence and child physical abuse has been well documented. Although collaboration between domestic violence and child protection services has been the focus of new efforts for better serving women experiencing domestic violence and their children, there is limited information about the types of families experiencing intimate partner violence who are involved in child protection services. This article explores the distinguishing characteristics of families experiencing adult domestic violence (DV) that are involved in child protection services (CPS) in comparison with families that experience DV but are not involved in CPS. Using data from a four-city anonymous telephone survey, this study examined the participation of 107 women who utilized domestic violence services. Roughly one-third (29.9%) of those receiving DV services in this sample were also involved with the CPS system. While those families involved with CPS did not differ in most ways from the other families, they did differ regarding the biological relationship of the child to the adult male perpetrator of DV. Families in the sample in which the perpetrator of DV was the biological father of the child were less likely to be involved in CPS than when the perpetrator of DV was not the biological father of the child. These findings point to a need for greater awareness of the risk biological fathers pose to their children.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (MIN-55-019) funded this research. The Principal Investigators were Jeffrey L. Edleson and Sandra K. Beeman. The authors wish to thank the staff of the Domestic Abuse Project, Inc. in Minneapolis, La Opportunidad in St. Paul, the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, the Support Network for Battered Women in Mountain View, CA, and the Family Place in Dallas for their collaboration in this study.
- Child abuse
- Child protection services (CPS) involvement
- Child welfare and DV
- Co-occurrence of adult DV and child abuse
- Domestic violence (DV)
- Relationship to perpetrator