A novel intervention for system-involved female intimate partner violence survivors: Changes in mental health.

Female intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors who are their children’s primary caregivers are often mandated to services by child protection services (CPS) and/or the courts. Unfortunately, scant evidence exists regarding mandated programs for CPS- and/or court-involved IPV survivors, particularly the mental health outcomes of such programs. Two human service agencies in the southeastern United States collaborated to develop and implement a novel 13-week intervention to address the needs of these mothers’ as related to safety, parenting, and mental health. The intervention uses a psychoeducation approach and participants are provided dinner, childcare, transportation, and on-site security. This community-based, quasi-experimental study gathered preliminary evidence regarding whether the intervention enhanced participants’ (N = 70) mental health (i.e., depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms). Growth curve analyses using hierarchical linear modeling examined whether participants experienced improvements in mental health at completion (3 months) and follow-up (6 months). Participants reported significant improvements on depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms at both postintervention time points. This exploratory study provides preliminary support for engaging court- and CPS-involved female IPV survivors in specialized, group-based interventions designed to address their mental health needs. Future research should investigate this and other similar programming using (a) larger samples, (b) comparison groups, and (c) randomized designs. It will also be important to replicate this program in other settings to establish evidence for the intervention’s underlying approach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)