The creation of guiding principles for an organization or specific program can be complex. Guiding principles for domestic violence prevention is especially challenging. The use of physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional violence, as well as the use of power and control in an intimate relationship, undermines the development of responsible fatherhood and healthy relationships. It is important for fatherhood programs to establish an agreed upon and accessible set of guidelines for addressing domestic violence prevention for this reason.
If you are looking to partner with domestic violence prevention programs or wanting to start a prevention program within your fatherhood program, this page is for you! The page provides resources and helpful examples for you to build your own guidelines and protocols.
Tips & Best Practices
- If your fatherhood program is looking for a place to start, try using this domestic violence protocol guide. This template was created by Colorado’s Responsible Fatherhood Program and Domestic Violence Program whose partnership was backed by the Colorado Department of Human Services.
- Learn how relationship and marriage educators and program administrators can develop domestic violence protocols. The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center created a guide that provides background information on domestic violence, key questions to consider when developing protocols, and information on building partnerships.
- Understand the importance of addressing domestic violence within fatherhood programs. If your fatherhood program is struggling to identify where your program can fit into domestic violence prevention, or if you are looking for more information to provide context to protocols and guidelines, check out this brief, developed by the Center for Family Policy and Practice.The action items included can help to inspire your program’s guidelines.
Men Stopping Violence helps men identify their experiences with violence as children and take responsibility for healing from them. This approach can help men cultivate better relationships with their children and empathize with their children’s mother in ways that strengthen their co-parenting. One man who attended a Men Stopping Violence workshop recognized that his behavior toward his ex-wife was controlling and aggressive, making it harder for her to co-parent and for him to connect with his child. Through what he learned at the workshop, he took responsibility for his behavior, which improved his relationships with his former partner and son. Learn more in the NRFC April 2014 webinar Addressing Domestic Violence: The Role of Fatherhood Programs.
Where do you start when developing guidelines or protocols?
Developing strong partnerships with domestic violence organizations is the first step. Sharing information about the services your fatherhood program provides, the services the domestic violence programs provides, and what you hope to offer is a great way to start. This will also allow you and the domestic violence partnerships to define your goals together
Why are protocols important?
Every fatherhood program should have a protocol to detail how it addresses domestic violence. Protocols can demonstrate program and staff understanding of domestic violence and its impact. They can also outline strategies for influencing attitudes and behavior of program participants and describe approaches that show respect to mothers and encourage positive co-parenting
What areas should domestic violence protocols focus on?
The Colorado Department of Human Services has a great example. In general, it is important that fatherhood programs highlight a focus on prevention education, inclusion of referrals services, how domestic violence impacts the whole family, and the need for strong partnerships with domestic violence prevention agencies.