Supporting Children Experiencing Family Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic: IPV and CPS Provider Perspectives.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2022.03.011; PMCID: PMC8949658


OBJECTIVES: Children experiencing family violence (child abuse and neglect and exposure to intimate partner violence) are at a particularly elevated risk for compounding challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we interviewed intimate partner violence (IPV) advocates, child protective services (CPS) caseworkers, and IPV and CPS administrators on the needs of children experiencing family violence during the pandemic.

METHODS: We conducted semistructured interviews with IPV advocates, CPS caseworkers, and IPV and CPS administrators. Recruitment occurred through emails to national and state listservs, networks of the study team, and word of mouth. Interviews were completed through Zoom, took 45 to 60 minutes and were audio recorded. We used a mixed deductive-inductive content analysis approach.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine IPV advocates, 35 IPV administrators, 21 CPS workers and 16 CPS administrators participated in this study. Four themes emerged from this work. Participants discussed the role of social isolation, school closures, and distance learning on children experiencing family violence. They also noted child custody and visitation challenges, particularly in the context of abusive partners using custody to control IPV survivors and limitations to virtual visitation more broadly. Compounding challenges were described for children from marginalized communities due to structural-level inequities. Collaboration was discussed by participants from both IPV and CPS sectors.

CONCLUSION: This study is one of the first to describe the way the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children experiencing family violence. Future studies should triangulate these results with children, families, and other child-serving providers.

Journal Title

Acad Pediatr





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MeSH Keywords

COVID-19; Child Protective Services; Domestic Violence; Humans; Intimate Partner Violence; Pandemics


COVID-19 pandemic; child abuse and neglect; intimate partner violence; semistructured interviews

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