Domestic Violence & Health Care Partnerships

The Foundation led the country in establishing the first statewide initiative designed to link health care and domestic violence. We aimed to bring greater attention to the adverse health effects of abuse, facilitate prevention, and support the well-being of survivors by engaging new partners across both fields.

Launched in 2013, the Domestic Violence and Health Care Partnerships project (DVHCP) was at the vanguard of efforts spurred by the Affordable Care Act to include domestic violence screening, grief counseling, and service referrals during routine women's health visits. 

The DVHCP put forth a new vision for cross-sector collaboration and systems change and proved what’s possible when we work together.

Community-based partners throughout the state developed a variety of models, including co-locating domestic violence advocates on site at clinics and hospitals, offering training for providers, engaging behavioral health services, and more. Working with Futures Without Violence, a national anti-domestic-violence and advocacy organization, the Foundation set out to fundamentally shift the way that we address and prevent domestic violence.

“Domestic violence agencies and healthcare agencies really have a shared vision... everyone just wants people to be healthy and not be broken in any part of their wellness. Ultimately, we have the same goal.”

—California DV Field Leader

Already knowing that doctors and nurses are trusted sources of support for those experiencing abuse, the DVHCP forged new and more meaningful connections between systems and services and established new entry-points and allies for survivors in need.

As a result of the DVHCP:

  • Over a third of patients with previous or ongoing experience with domestic violence reported that they discussed the issue with their doctor during a clinical visit, which far exceeds previous disclosure rates (generally around 1-2%). 
  • Healthcare providers demonstrated a two-fold increase in screening and assessment for domestic violence and reported greater comfort in talking about the issue and willingness to connect patients to services. 
  • Survivors receiving support from domestic violence agencies were made more aware of, and connected to, health-related services to facilitate their recovery and well-being.

Partners continue to lead this important work across the state, and the Foundation continues to seek innovative cross-sector solutions like the DVHCP that make our communities healthier, safer, and stronger.