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Assessing Polyvictimization in a Family Justice Center: Lessons Learned from a Demonstration Project

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: Online Dated: 2021
D. M. R. Dagenhardt; et al
Date Published

Since there is a growing interest in developing comprehensive assessments that measure intimate partner violence (IPV) alongside other adverse events that correlate with IPV and compound its effects, the current study examined the experience of administration of a polyvictimization tool from staff and client perspectives in order to inform future tool developments and assessment procedures.


Qualitative interviews and focus groups with clients and staff from a family justice center who had experience with the assessment tool were used to identify strengths and challenges of the assessment tool and inform future tool development. Findings demonstrate that an assessment tool provides the space for clients to talk about trauma and facilitate empowerment, while providing the opportunity for psychoeducation and service referrals. Concerns about the assessment tool included adverse reactions without proper framing and language, as well as shifting the emphasis from screening for adversities toward strengths, coping skills, and resilience. Implications for future measurement development and establishing best practices in polyvictimization assessment are discussed, with an emphasis on the benefits of social service agencies using assessment tools. (publisher abstract modified)