Abstract: Development and Use of a Quantitative Model to Understand Gaps in Domestic Violence Services (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Development and Use of a Quantitative Model to Understand Gaps in Domestic Violence Services

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 7, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Bethany Backes, PhD, MSW, MPH, Director of Research and Evaluation, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Leila Wood, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Maggy McGiffert, MA, Research Project Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Alexandra Cantrell, Policy Coordinator, Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin, TX
Elyssa Schroeder, MSW, Public Policy Coordinator, Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin, TX
Molly Voyles, BSW, Policy Manager, Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin, TX
Background and Purpose: The 2018 state plan expands on prior iterations of plans by using additional secondary data sources in its analysis, collecting extensive primary data during 17 site visits to family violence agencies in 7 regions across Texas, and focusing on specific service gaps identified in prior projects. A deeper analysis of the availability of services was conducted through the development of a model quantifying need and availability of county-level services.  The modeling used data from both primary and secondary sources to measure system interventions, demographics, and community factors that influence rates of violence and service availability in Texas counties. This data analysis assists in triangulating survey and interview data obtained through the other State Plan research components to help assess the service landscape in Texas while considering socioeconomic and demographic barriers that may be present.

Methods: Over 15 secondary data sources (county, state, national) were reviewed, with the goal of providing more context to the analysis and for use in understanding need and availability of services and supports at the county level. Separate indicators were developed to score each county on need and availability of services. Sixteen indicators, eight representing need and eight representing availability, were developed based on state-wide surveys of domestic violence agencies and with state and national data points accessible at the county-level. Qualitative findings and existing literature were used to inform the development of indicators through an iterative process with key stakeholders. Indicators represented a range of items including poverty, demographics, crime rates, migration patterns, housing availability, specific services, and law enforcement coverage.

Results: Overall availability scores ranged from zero to seven (out of a possible 8) and 5% of counties scored a zero due to limited community and systems-based services. Most counties did not provide substantial child care or child-based services and few provided legal representation by an attorney. Over half of Texas counties provide mental health services to survivors, however, most counties are only provided services to less than 10% of their victim population. Overall need scores ranged from zero to six (out of a possible 8) with two counties indicating more need than others. Some counties do not have enough beds or other types of housing to adequately serve their victim population and almost 20% of counties are experiencing high levels of population growth. A data interface was created online to provide county and aggregate-level profiles.

Conclusion/Implications: The quantitative model provides an informative overview of the state of services for domestic violence survivors within a given state. Coupled with qualitative and survey results, full context is provided to key stakeholders to assist in the prioritization of resources. Also, county-level profiles are available online and provide an interactive and useful platform for local agencies to identify service and population trends in their community and for use in continued data collection and assessment.