Principal Co-Investigators:
Holly Bell, Ph.D., LCSW
Shanti Kulkarni, Ph.D., LCSW

Duration: March 1, 2005 – October 31, 2005


The goal of this project is to provide information about the service needs of intimate partner violence (IPV) to recommend improvements in the data collection system of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


While there is representative national data on the prevalence of intimate partner violence (e.g., National Violence Against Women Survey and the National Crime Victimization Survey), there is much less data on the health and social service needs of survivors.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), established in 1996, provides 24-hour telephone crisis intervention services, information and referral to survivors, their friends, and service providers. NDVH answers 15,000 calls each month. As a national program, NDVH is a potentially excellent source of information about the service needs of domestic violence survivors throughout the country. Unfortunately, due to the design of the current data collection system, neither the range of services sought by survivors, nor their exact nature, can be captured. NDVH Advocates who answer crisis calls are only able to list one reason for the call, although anecdotal evidence suggests that callers often have multiple service needs. Further, the current data collection system is not able to capture the different kinds of services requested, as it has limited categories of services to be selected, resulting in much information being captured in a “non-specific services” category. Valuable information that could be used to inform the provision of services to IPV survivors around the country is lost. Capturing accurate information on the range of specific needs of IPV survivors would allow local providers to more effectively and efficiently meet those needs, and, if necessary, create new partnerships to address unmet needs presented by callers from a particular state or region.


To inform changes in the data collection system of NDVH and provide feedback to the network of domestic violence service providers with which NDVH collaborates, the researchers propose to conduct up to four focus groups with survivors of interpersonal violence about their perceptions of their service needs.

National Domestic Violence Hotline