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Interpersonal Violence
The Social Work Response
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley, Editor
ISBN: 978-0-87101-586-0. 2023. Item #5860. 284 pages.
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Interpersonal violence, including intimate partner violence (IPV), impacts all communities regardless of race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, class, or national origin. Yet, some people—such as those with disabilities, those who identify as LGBTQ, and women of color—are disproportionately impacted. Making matters worse, interpersonal violence may be exacerbated by the use of technology to abuse victims, and it intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, when reports of IPV fatalities increased, as did human trafficking and forced marriages.

Interpersonal Violence: The Social Work Response proposes that it is essential for social workers to understand the evolving and persistent landscape of interpersonal violence, including concurrent victimization, overlapping patterns, and intersections. The book encourages a three-pronged approach, one that is trauma informed, culturally responsive, and survivor centered.

Covering a wide range of environments in which social workers work with IPV, contributors offer a variety of innovative methods for working with victims, including constructed agency, antioppressive frameworks, community engagement, and work with abusive persons. Specific areas of IPV are explored, including the intersection of IPV and mental health crises, social isolation, housing insecurity, sexual harassment, and how IPV specifically impacts the Black and LGBTQ communities.

This book posits that being culturally responsive and trauma informed are ethical mandates for social work practice and critical elements of sound, ethical, and best practices. With more social workers who are informed, engaged, and committed, we can create change and support safer and healthier individuals, families, and communities.

Introduction: Interpersonal Violence, Co‑Occurrences, and Intersections
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley

Chapter 1: An Antioppressive Framework of Interpersonal Violence
Shanti Kulkarni

Chapter 2: The Campus Response to Interpersonal Violence
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley and Akosoa McFadgion

Chapter 3: Housing and Intimate Partner Violence: Etiology and Identification of Housing Insecurity among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Leila Wood

Chapter 4: Mental Health and Intimate Partner Violence
Jill Messing, Tina Jiwatram-Negrón, and Hsiu-Fen Lin

Chapter 5: Social Isolation and Intimate Partner Violence
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley

Chapter 6: Understanding and Responding to the Service Needs of Human Trafficking Victims
Sarah Ascienzo, Maura Nsonwu, and Noël Busch-Armendariz

Chapter 7: Sexual Harassment: What Social Workers Need to Know in the Time of #MeToo
Aaliah Zonicle

Chapter 8: Sexual Assault: Cultural Context and the Social Work Response
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley and Jennifer M. Gómez

Chapter 9: Black Gay Men’s Experiences with Intimate Partner Violence
Damien Frierson

Chapter 10: Black Women’s Intimate Partner Violence Help Seeking
Bernadine Waller

Chapter 11: Leading a Sexual Assault Agency
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley and Indira Henard

Chapter 12: Sex Trafficking and Community Engagement: Implications for Social Workers
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley

Chapter 13: Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention: A Community Engagement Approach
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley, Sakima Romero-Chandler, and Aaliah Zonicle

Chapter 14: Engaging Abusive Persons Involved in Intimate Partner Violence
Lisa Nitsch and Johnny Rice III

Chapter 15: Conducting Intimate Partner Violence Research: What Social Workers Need to Know
Noelle St. Vil

Conclusion: Interpersonal Violence and the Call for Social Workers – Next Steps for Change
Tricia B. Bent-Goodley

About the Editor
About the Contributors

Tricia B. Bent-Goodley, PhD, received her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD from Columbia University. As a professional social worker, she has practiced as a clinical and community practitioner, a social work administrator, and a social policy advocate. Through sustained federal and foundation funding, she has developed and designed culturally specific interventions rooted in social value creation and entrepreneurial thinking in areas such as intimate partner and sexual violence prevention, healthy relationship education, HIV prevention, community- and faith-based interventions, and engaging men and boys. Serving at the local to the international levels, she has received extensive awards for her commitment to addressing issues of inequity and social justice. Bent-Goodley is professor emeritus, Howard University School of Social Work, and graduate professor in the Howard University Public Health Program. As the immediate past editor-in-chief of Social Work, the flagship journal of the National Association of Social Workers, she is one of two African American women to serve in this role in the journal’s 65-year-plus history. She served as the creator and founding director of the Howard University Interpersonal Violence Prevention Program—the office dedicated to providing advocacy, education, policy development, coordination, and training in the areas of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking for the campus community. She also serves as a founding member and immediate past chair of the Prince George’s County Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team and is a former national elected board member of the Council on Social Work Education. Bent-Goodley recently served as the project director for community engagement and culturally responsiveness for the Black community as part of the National Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Demonstration Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. Bent-Goodley is the author, editor, or coeditor of many publications, including The Ultimate Betrayal: A Renewed Look at Intimate Partner Violence and By Grace: Challenges, Strengths, and Promise of African American Marriage.
Sarah Ascienzo, PhD, LCSW, has more than 15 years of experience as a mental health clinician working with youth and families adversely affected by trauma and interpersonal violence. Dr. Ascienzo is currently an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University, where she teaches and engages in research and service in the areas of trauma, resilience, and well-being.

Noël Busch-Armendariz, PhD, MSW, MPA, is a restorative listener, community builder, advocate, and licensed social worker. She is the University Presidential Professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, director of the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, and professor of Health Social Work at the Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin.

Damien Frierson, PhD, MSW, is a public health analyst in the HIV/AIDS Bureau’s Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Frierson also served as a senior program specialist in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) Administration for Children and Families, where he oversaw the development of the inaugural National LGBTQ Institute on Intimate Partner Violence funded under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. Before coming to HHS, Dr. Frierson served as the assistant director for domestic violence services at Lutheran Settlement House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jennifer M. Gómez, PhD, board member and chair of the Research Advisory Committee at the Center for Institutional Courage, is an assistant professor at Boston University School of Social Work and the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health, and she was a 2021–2022 Fellow at the Stanford University Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Her primary research focus is cultural betrayal trauma theory, which she created as a framework for understanding the mental, behavioral, cultural, and physical health impact of within-group violence on Black and other marginalized youth, young adults, and elders in the context of inequality.

Indira Henard, DSW, MSW, has been with the DC Rape Crisis Center for the past 14 years, serving in different capacities and lending invaluable experience, including leadership roles in fundraising, operations, cultivating relationships and strategic partnerships, and coalition building. Under Dr. Henard’s executive leadership, she has not only repositioned the oldest rape crisis center in the country, she has also laid a strong foundation as the agency celebrates 50 years of survivor-centered and community-led services.

Tina Jiwatram-Negrón, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University and faculty of the Office of Gender-Based Violence. Her research focuses on gender-based violence (GBV) among socially and economically marginalized women globally and addressing health and mental health disparities associated with GBV through intervention development in partnership with community-based organizations.

Shanti Kulkarni, PhD, MSW, currently serves as the associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her scholarship focuses on the impact of trauma, violence, and abuse on marginalized populations and seeks to positively influence practitioner behavior, service delivery systems, and policy in ways that best promote survivor, family, and community health and well-being.

Hsiu-Fen Lin, PhD, MSW, is currently a postdoctoral research scholar at the Office of Gender-Based Violence at Arizona State University. Her research interest includes risk factors for intimate partner violence and intimate partner homicide, intervention with and prevention of gender-based violence, measurement of immigrant survivors’ experiences of violence, economic empowerment, and cultural responsiveness in social work practice.

Akosoa McFadgion, PhD, MSW, is a research psychologist, licensed social worker, and professor. Her areas of expertise and research focus include intimate partner violence and healthy relationships among couples and communities.

Jill Messing, MSW, PhD, is a professor in the School of Social Work and the director of the Office of Gender-Based Violence at Arizona State University. Dr. Messing specializes in the development and testing of intimate partner violence risk assessments. As a social worker, she is particularly interested in the use of risk assessment in collaborative, innovative interventions, and as a strategy for reducing intimate partner homicide.

Lisa Nitsch, MSW, is responsible for House of Ruth Maryland’s intervention services for abusive partners and the Training Institute, which coordinates professional development for staff, external community education, and professional technical assistance. She has been with House of Ruth Maryland since 1998 and has advanced through a variety of positions. Nitsch is vice-chair of Baltimore City’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, a member of the City’s Domestic Violence High Risk Task Force, and an appointed member of the Maryland Governor’s Family Violence Council, and she sits on the Board of Directors for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Maura Nsonwu, PhD, MSW, LCSW, is a professor in the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University. She has taught at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels and has been a practitioner, clinician, educator, and researcher in refugee resettlement, human trafficking, health care, child welfare, and social work education for more than 30 years.

Johnny Rice II, DrPh, is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Coppin State University’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. His research interests are epidemiological criminology, public health, race and culture, media, youth delinquency, victimology, family studies (fatherhood and child welfare), urban sociology, and qualitative social research. He formerly served as senior program associate at the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety.

Sakima Romero-Chandler, EdD, is a subject matter expert on domestic violence and sexual violence, addressing culturally related challenges of African, Black, and Caribbean women and children. She has extensive experience working with grassroots communities and local organizations. She is a National Training and Technical Assistance provider and an independent consultant.

Noelle St. Vil, PhD, MSW, is an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work. Dr. St. Vil’s research focuses on supporting positive Black intimate relationships, with the aim of strengthening Black families and communities. Dr. St. Vil’s scholarship concentrates on two dimensions of Black intimate relationships: violence against women and sexual behavior, health, and well-being.

Bernadine Waller, PhD, is an award-winning National Institute of Mental Health T32 Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Translational Epidemiology and Mental Health Equity, with a dual appointment at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is an implementation scientist whose research examines the intersections of intimate partner violence (IPV), help seeking, and mental health, with a specific focus on Black women. Dr. Waller developed the first theories in the United States to explicate African American women IPV survivors’ help-seeking process.

Leila Wood, PhD, MSSW, is a social worker and professor and the director of evaluation at the Center for Violence Prevention School of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Wood’s program of research focuses on community-based intimate partner violence and sexual assault intervention and prevention efforts, including housing programs.

Aaliah Zonicle, PhD, MSW, is a scholar and social change agent focused on the disenfranchisement of Black women. Her dissertation research examined the sexual harassment of Black women in the workplace, which solidified the opportunity to advocate for advancements in safer working environments and culturally appropriate policies. She is an independent consultant.
This book should be required reading in schools of social work and beyond, for everyone who works or aspires to work with survivors of gender-based violence. Bent-Goodley gives activists, clinicians, and students a road map to intersectional, survivor-centered care. The chapter on Black women’s help seeking is essential reading for all social workers. Bent-Goodley also shows us the perspectives of immigrants and Black gay men as they struggle with IPV. I have not seen a better description of the connection between macro and individual practice as the one Bent-Goodley gives us here. This is the book I needed years ago, and the book every social worker needs today.

Lynn Rosenthal, BSW
Former White House advisor on violence against women
Washington, DC