Methods: Fourteen focus groups were held with stakeholders across the U.S., including parents with lived experience of DV and CW involvement, Native American tribal representatives, judges, CW workers and administrators, co-located DV advocates, DV administrators, and service providers of people who use violence. Participants shared perspectives on a broad range of topics relevant to the intersection of CW and DV, including collaboration. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and imported into Dedoose.com. Using inductive and deductive strategies, data were analyzed to examine perspectives on collaboration. Trustworthiness and rigor were supported through multiple reads of the data, iterative coding, team-based coding review, auditing, and peer debriefing.
Results: Our analysis identified five broad themes. First, parents’ comments frequently revealed gaps, fragmentation, and a general lack of coordination or responsiveness. Second, the need for shared language, shared understandings, and trust was prominent. Participants described strategies for building relationships and effective communication between CW and DV, including cross-systems routine meetings, training/education, and opportunities for troubleshooting. Third, leadership at multiple levels and in formal and informal practices was discussed as critically important to CW-DV collaboration. Fourth, scalability emerged as a theme that represented the dynamic and multi-layered dimensions of collaboration. That is, participants indicated that collaboration was more than cross-system meetings and, although rarely accomplished, required ongoing adaptations in micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Finally, tensions of collaboration were reported, including issues related to cultural bias and a scarcity of policies and funding that could promote authentic and sustainable collaboration between CW and DV.
Conclusions and Implications: This study expands the current knowledge by providing a comprehensive view on collaboration in CW and DV from a broad view of multiple stakeholders. Parents’ responses verified the need for collaboration between CW and DV as well as other community providers. Findings also suggest that many jurisdictions have attempted collaboration; however, successfully sustaining collaboration has been challenging and uncommon. Overall, study themes point to developing collaboration with inclusive strategies and considering practices at the case, organizational, and policy levels. Implications will be discussed for continued efforts toward developing, implementing, and sustaining systemic and collaborative approaches in CW and DV.