Training Needs of Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Service Providers
Methods: Our research team surveyed all IPV/SA agencies in North Carolina by developing a database of all IPV/SA agencies and their directors from the Websites of the three statewide IPV/SA organizations. We then confirmed the accuracy of the information by contacting each agency to obtain a final sample of 103 agency directors. With guidance from an expert panel of IPV/SA statewide leaders, we developed a survey to collect information regarding typical IPV/SA staff training practices and training needs. The web-based survey was administered over 13 weeks. Of those invited, 74% started the survey and 65% completed most or all of the survey. We then conducted descriptive analyses to assess training levels and ongoing training needs among all participating agencies.
Results: The majority of respondents reported that personnel received initial trainings in five key areas of survivor concerns: violence/safety (95.5%), emotional health (95.5%), disability (86.4%), physical health (78.8%), and substance use (77.3%). However, respondents reported that more than half of their staff required additional training in violence/safety (22.7%), physical health (26.9%), emotional health (27.3%), disability (33.3%), and substance use (42.4%). Notably, there were no statistically significant differences (p=0.05) in training needs when comparing agencies that provided orientation trainings in each area with those that did not.
Implications: This study is among one of the first to examine the training practices and needs of IPV/SA agencies. Respondents reported continuing educational needs in five key areas of survivor concerns regardless of whether agencies provided orientation trainings. Such findings suggest that there are critical training needs across IPV/SA advocates and agencies. Based on this research’s findings, we offer recommendations for standardized training curricula for IPV/SA service providers that address the complex needs of IPV/SA survivors.