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2003 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 8, No. 3
May 2003

Family-Centered Practice and Domestic Violence

To social workers who embrace the family-centered approach, supporting victims of domestic violence and holding batterers accountable makes a lot of sense. Although family-centered practice emphasizes the positive, these practitioners understand that focusing on a family’s strengths does not mean ignoring or minimizing the batterer’s abusive and controlling behavior.

Rather, strengths-based practitioners seek to offset these deficits through the use of the family’s successful coping and adaptive patterns, its natural support networks, and other resources. They understand that by addressing the safety needs identified by adult victims, by expanding upon previously successful strategies and resources, and by connecting the family with new resources, children and adult victims can be protected.

Indeed, the family-centered approach can help agencies prioritize safety for victims and accountability for batterers. One strategy that has been used in child protection cases involving domestic violence is child and family team meetings. These meetings can be modified to ensure the safety of adult victims and to hold batterers accountable. In fact, as noted in the issue of Practice Notes on child and family team meetings (vol. 8, no. 2), batterers are often not physically present at these conferences.

Adapted from NAPCWA, 2001

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