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Developing a Capacity for Self-Preservation and Emergency Management Among Battered Families

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2003 Pages: 181-192
Coby J. Lund; Brandon F. Greene
Date Published
August 2003
12 pages
This study assessed and trained five families with histories of domestic violence and at risk for child abuse and neglect in responding to threatening intruders, fire in the home, and medical emergencies.
The children in the families had been abused by their fathers or the mothers' paramours. The children ranged in age from 2 to 8 years old. The mothers also had histories of abuse by spouses or paramours. The perpetrators were not living in the homes at the time of this study. Assessment of children's ability to place emergency calls to police, fire, and medical agencies was scored on the basis of task analyses. These were adapted from Jones (1980), who validated emergency dialing skills. Task analyses developed to assess and train families to manage intrusions were based on the recommendations of a local law enforcement officer who specialized in domestic violence. The emergency survival skills in these three areas were assessed in role-play. Responses were scored according to the task analysis variation appropriate to the scenario of the role-play. Participants' responses to the role-play scenarios prior to training (baseline) were ineffective and sometimes dangerous. During training, participants were consistently able to improve their performance and meet task criteria in fewer than 10 sessions. Participants were able to maintain performance at or above standards for three consecutive sessions up to 3 weeks after training. The expert's ratings of follow-up performances indicate that training prepared participants to be significantly safer, well-prepared, likely to avoid injuries, and unlikely to exacerbate dangers. 5 figures, 7 tables, and 21 references