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Social Work professor receives research contract from Texas Council on Family Violence

Dr. Rachel Voth Schrag
Dr. Rachel Voth Schrag

A collaboration between social work researchers and the Texas Council on Family Violence are working on a project that will support intimate partner service providers.

TCFV is partnering with University of Texas at Arlington, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Rachel Voth Schrag, service agencies and other universities to gather data to support intimate partner violence victims.

This data will enable the organization to see what to prioritize and where to concentrate their efforts for the next five years, she said.

TCFV helps coordinate the efforts of domestic violence service agencies, shelters and counseling services in the state of Texas. They provide technical assistance and support to other agencies who provide services.

The service sector for the domestic violence victims is small, but is devoted toward helping survivors and breaking this pattern of violence, she said.

“The more responsive to every segment of society we can make that service sector, the faster we are going to end violence,” Voth Schrag said.

Voth Schrag’s team will focus on victims who do not seek out help from agencies and service providers. Her group will obtain qualitative and quantitative data through interviews to better understand their experiences.

This is a needs assessment study, and keeping an open mind is needed for the success of the project, Voth Schrag said. She said she hopes to receive feedback on how domestic violence service providers in Texas can better serve survivors who have not previously chosen to access their services.

When studying intimate partner violence, speaking to participants from shelters and counseling centers are some of the normal places to look into, she said.

“What TCFV wants, which is really important, is who are we missing,” Voth Schrag said.

Finding this “hidden population” of people who are not going to services is going to be difficult, she said.

Other universities involved in the project will focus on different population areas, such as victims who do reach out to organizations, she said. At the end of the summer, collaborators will report their findings to the TCFV.

“Texas has one of the highest rates of family violence in the country,” she said.

There are financial costs to the nation and an emotional toll to those who experience or witness family violence, Voth Schrag said. Family violence often happens behind closed doors and is a “silent” issue.

“It’s a place where I see the possibility of incredible change,” she said. “If we can break down silence, if we can begin to set different patterns and different social norms, we can make it unacceptable.”

News Topics: Research
Tags: Dr. Rachel Voth Schrag, research, abuse