Abstract: A Systematic Review of Interventions to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence Among Young People in Child Welfare and Legal System Settings (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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162P A Systematic Review of Interventions to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence Among Young People in Child Welfare and Legal System Settings

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Malorie Ward, Doctoral Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya, PhD, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, AZ
Madison L. Rose, BA, MSW Student, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Kristin M. Ferguson, PhD, Professor, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Background and Purpose: Research indicates that over three-fourths of young people involved with the child welfare or legal system report both IPV victimization and perpetration (i.e., bidirectional/reciprocal IPV). These systems are responsible for promoting their well-being through services that address or reduce the risk of trauma exposure and violence. Thus, services should aim to prevent and intervene in IPV among young people. However, researchers have yet to assess this service area systematically. We, therefore, conducted a systematic review of research related to IPV interventions used with young people involved with the child welfare and legal systems.

Methods: Six electronic databases (PsychInfo, PubMed, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Social Service Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts) were searched in March 2021, resulting in 1,954 studies after eliminating duplicates. Three researchers independently assessed each abstract for inclusion in, or exclusion from, the systematic review. Articles with discrepancies in inclusion or exclusion decisions were resolved by consensus. Articles were eligible for inclusion if they: (1) focused on IPV/dating violence victimization or perpetration; (2) included child welfare or legal system-involved young people aged 10-24 years; (3) utilized an experimental or quasi-experimental design; (4) delivered an intervention; and (5) reported outcomes. Two studies met the inclusion criteria, and four studies were identified by examining these studies’ references. A total of six studies were included in the systematic review.

Results: Included studies clustered around child welfare (n=2) and legal system involvement (n=4). Three studies focused on IPV perpetration only; one on both IPV victimization and perpetration; two on IPV victimization only. Four of the six studies were conducted in the United States (US). Studies were guided by various theories (e.g., feminist theory, cognitive behavioral theory). All interventions included interactive activities (e.g., role-playing, condom use demonstration). Only one intervention was culturally-tailored. Two studies assessed IPV as an outcome: one found no significant intervention effect on IPV perpetration; the other found significant reductions in both IPV victimization and perpetration. Other improved outcomes were also present across studies (e.g., IPV knowledge, trauma symptoms, condom use).

Conclusions and Implications: Very few IPV interventions focused on young people aged 10-24 involved with the child welfare or legal system─ a problem considering the high IPV prevalence within this population and promising results. Additionally, all studies focused solely on boys/men aimed to reduce IPV perpetration; however, IPV is more likely to be reciprocal/bidirectional during adolescence and young adulthood. Only one study assessed trauma. IPV interventions for system-involved young people should consider this population’s unique socio-emotional needs, including the trauma many have experienced before or resulting from system involvement. Similarly, we identified only one culturally tailored US-based study. Yet, US-based studies predominantly consisted of African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx youths. African American/Black youth are severely overrepresented in the US child welfare and legal system. Therefore, more culturally-tailored IPV interventions for child welfare and legal system-involved young people are especially needed for this population. Finally, research similar enough to pool and compare results could help understand the overall effects of IPV interventions used with system-involved young people through meta-analyses.