If you are currently involved in an open DCYF assessment or case, you may access domestic violence services directly through DCYF by contacting your child protective service worker (CPSW) or the domestic violence specialist in your district office.
Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to gain and maintain power and control over another person in the context of an intimate (or formerly intimate) relationship. Coercive behaviors may include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as psychological intimidation, threats, stalking, and economic control.
Domestic Violence Specialist (DVS) Program
Research demonstrates that domestic violence and child abuse/neglect often occur within the same families, making it critical that the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) understands and consistently screens for domestic violence dynamics. To ensure safe and effective screening and intervention with families, DCYF, since 1998, has partnered with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) and its member programs to place a DVS in each Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) district office throughout the state. The DVSs, who are advocates employed by local crisis centers, serve many essential functions, including:
- Offer free and confidential support for victims of domestic violence;
- Provide consultation for DCYF staff to improve interventions and safety planning;
- Facilitate cross training between child protection staff and the local crisis center; and
- Provide consultation for other divisions of DHHS.
By providing opportunities for victims to get the support and assistance they need, the DVS Program increases the likelihood that adult victims and their children will achieve safety.
DCYF Domestic Violence Protocol
DCYF's Domestic Violence Protocol guides those working in Child Protection in responding to domestic violence in ways that are consistent with best practices in this field. This Protocol can be accessed by visiting the NH Department of Justice Web site.
A training team consisting of DCYF's Domestic Violence Intervention Coordinator and NHCADSV's Child and Family Advocacy Coordinator provides domestic violence training for DCYF staff, as well as others throughout DHHS. Training also may be available upon request for partner agencies and providers.
Collaborative Community Response
DCYF believes that a collaborative community response is the most effective way to address the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse/neglect. Domestic violence and other forms of family violence are broad and serious community problems that require community solutions. Therefore, DCYF works closely with NHCADSV and its member programs, as well as the Courts, Law Enforcement, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and other agencies/systems in an effort to best meet the needs of families facing these issues.
Domestic Violence Services
NHCADSV is the umbrella agency for 14 member programs throughout the state. These programs, known as crisis centers, provide a range of free and confidential services for victims of domestic and sexual violence. These services include:
- Twenty-four hour hotline
- Emergency shelter
- Court accompaniment
- Peer support groups
- Education and outreach
- Walk-in services
- Children's advocacy
- Social services advocacy
- Hospital accompaniment