When child abuse overlaps with domestic violence: The factors that influence child protection workers' beliefs

Judy L. Postmus, Darcey H. Merritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Over the past decade, Child Protective Services (CPS) has been challenged with how to adequately respond to families experiencing domestic violence and whether exposure to domestic violence constitutes child abuse. Research provides a limited understanding of what factors (i.e. professional, personal, training) influence the beliefs of CPS workers but much more information is needed. The research described in this paper provides another opportunity to explore these factors that influence the beliefs and attitudes of 64 workers from a CPS system in a Midwestern state. Anonymous and confidential surveys queried respondents on demographic information, their beliefs about domestic violence and the intersection of domestic violence and child abuse, prior domestic violence training, and their professional and personal experiences with domestic violence. The results provide insight into challenges of addressing workers' beliefs about domestic violence and its overlap with child abuse and instill the need for more research to fully grasp how best to respond to families experiencing domestic violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010



  • Beliefs
  • Child Protection Services
  • Domestic violence
  • Overlap of abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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