addition to the more overt effects of domestic violence, however, domestic violence is often an underlying problem creating or exacerbating a wide variety of other difficulties that compromise family functioning. For example, domestic violence often has a significant impact on the development of alcohol/other drug use by women, children's response to caretakers, availability of social supports, and living conditions, areas of family functioning that are also included in the Risk Assessment.
The ability of child welfare workers to make the connection between the effects of domestic violence and the variety of elements that make up the Risk Assessment is instrumental in the development of effective service plans. Therefore, domestic violence assessment should be conducted in every phase of a case, from an initial investigation to service planning and delivery.
Separate interviews should be routine. Questions about domestic violence should not be asked in the presence of a partner or children, for to do so puts a victim at risk of retaliation for what she may or may not say. Whether the interview is in the client's home or the worker's office, it is important that all female clients are given an opportunity to respond in a safe and private setting.
b.Child welfare workers should inform victims of the extent and limits of confidentiality with regard to information on domestic violence.
Victims of domestic violence should be aware of the extent to which anything they say will be divulged and to whom. Workers should avoid using information provided by the victim to confront the abuser. In cases in which the use of third party information is unavoidable, providers should give prior notification to the victim of what information is to be shared and when, and engage the victim in planning for her safety. (See also Guiding Principles, 1 g.)
c.Child welfare workers should assess for dating violence in families with one or more adolescent children. Once identified, workers should provide referrals to appropriate services, if available.
Domestic violence occurs at alarming rates in adolescent dating relationships and teen abusers utilize the same range of coercive tactics that adult abusers do, including physical violence. Assessments for teen dating violence should be a part of a comprehensive approach to developing service and safety plans for adult and/or child victims. Once identified, workers should be prepared to provide information to both the teen and/or the teen's parent(s) about dating violence, and the community resources available.