This study conducted an evaluability assessment of two domestic violence programs that serve rural clients, one in the West and the other in the East, with a secondary purpose of examining the extent to which the programs are part of a comprehensive array of coordinated community-based services for victims of domestic violence living in rural areas.
The study addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home and social-distancing orders on program operations during Year 2 of the study, as well as the impact on the research procedures during Year 2. To ensure the anonymity of the two programs, they are called Agency East and Agency West. During August 2019, research staff conducted 3-day site visits to each program, with in-person interviews conducted with key staff. For Year 2 of the research, a site visit was modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All interviews were conducted by phone during August 2020. This report describes the program models, identifies the facilitators of and challenges to program implementation, and advises the readiness for a full evaluation. Both programs’ mission statements refer to supporting domestic violence victims with services that assist them in becoming safe and independent. Facilities and program components are described for each agency. Both programs provided an array of services to shelter and community clients, including support groups, legal advocacy, education, and outreach. Partnerships were involved in employment assistance and legal advocacy. Changes are noted from Year 1 to Year 2. The most frequently mentioned challenges by both programs’ key informants included the lack of affordable housing, public transportation in rural areas, and affordable behavioral health services nearby. Readiness for a full evaluation of each program is discussed. 11 tables and 2 exhibits