For more than 30 years, concerted efforts have been made to end domestic violence and yet the devastation continues. Nearly four million women are battered each year in the U.S., of whom more than 1300 die; seven million children watch in horror. Clearly, we do not yet understand the root causes of battering or the factors maintaining violence in families. Too often, decisions with life and death consequences are made on the basis of assumptions rather than knowledge. This leaves domestic violence advocates without the insight that research can provide to challenge societal assumptions about violence. The reasons for this researcher-practitioner disconnect include:
- Research findings that might guide action seldom trickle down in ways that are useful at the grass roots level – nor are local providers, activists, and advocates always equipped to assess or challenge controversial findings.
- Advocates and survivors are regularly invited to spend time helping researchers, but rarely invited to help shape research agendas.
- Domestic violence service providers need access to community-based research that informs their ability to better serve their clients and advocate for new public policy.
In response, the Center is advancing the understanding of the causes and consequences of domestic violence through action based, community-informed research. By providing real answers to communities demanding an end to domestic violence, the Center is meeting an unmet need in the domestic violence community. Such a critical need can be met if academic researchers can apply their intellect and theory to real-world experiences of practitioners. Likewise, when practitioners collaborate with researchers their work becomes more evidence-based, which is more likely to create sustainable change in ending violence against women.
The Center is proud to be at the forefront of creating linkages between the research and practice communities and advancing the understanding of the causes and consequences of abuse, which enables access to evidence-based answers for communities demanding an end to domestic violence.