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Violence Prevention and Control
Research and Programmatic Efforts in Minnesota:
The Next Step

RESULTS

Respondents

Of the 445 programs that were originally identified through snowball sampling, 361 returned questionnaires, producing a response rate of 81%. Of the 84 non-respondents, 21 were judged ineligible because they did not meet selection criteria of having at least one full-time equivalent staff person, or specific funding allocated to violence prevention and control. This left an estimated population of 424 programs. Of these, 361 returned questionnaires for a response rate of 85%.

Among the respondents, 250 programs (69%) met the study selection criteria. Since these programs represented active efforts and commitment of significant resources, they were the focus of the investigation. On average, eligible programs had been in existence for 7.3 years; approximately 10% had existed for less than one year. The number of FTEs per program ranged from 0 (42 programs or 17%) to 240 (1 program) with a mean of 5.4 and a standard deviation of 17.5. Of those with one or more FTEs, 49 programs (20%) did not have funding specific to violence prevention.

Program Focus and Strategies

Among the potential areas of program focus, child abuse, and child sexual abuse were the most often addressed forms of violence, reported by 78% and 73% of the respondents, respectively. Other types of violence addressed by more than half of the respondents included: domestic violence (excluding child abuse); school violence; general (unspecified) community violence; and general conflict (disagreements between individuals and groups) (Table 1). Other issues addressed by the majority of the respondents included: cultural diversity, and drugs and alcohol in relation to violence prevention and control.

TABLE 1. VIOLENCE-RELATED ISSUES ADDRESSED BY PARTICIPATING VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAMS MINNESOTA, 1996

Most programs reported serving a wide range of clients, including children and adults, males and females, and individuals of diverse backgrounds (Table 2). Only 48% of programs involved perpetrators of violence, whereas 79% of programs involved victims.

TABLE 2. POPULATIONS SERVED BY VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAMS MINNESOTA, 1996

The use of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies were reported by 90%, 89%, and 70% of the respondents, respectively. A more detailed analysis showed that 96% of the programs, that focused on providing only primary prevention services, provided education to the public. Among those programs that did not provide any primary prevention services, 80% provided healthcare, counseling, or social services, while 76% provided advocacy services.

Community education activities were reported by 81% of the programs, and professional education by 71% (Table 3). Three-quarters of the programs reported providing health care, counseling or social services. Advocacy programs were reported by 71% of the programs. When asked which single program type best described their efforts, the modal response (given by 39%), was education of the public.

TABLE 3. ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES OF VIOLENCE PREVENTION GROUPS MINNESOTA, 1996


Program Planning and Evaluation

When asked if their program had written goals or objectives, 78% of the respondents reported they did. However, only 49% reported they had a written evaluation plan. When asked if their program had produced demonstrated effects, 69% of the respondents said yes; of these, 14% specifically identified measurable changes in individuals' behavior or health status associated with their program efforts.

Research Initiatives

Of the 250 respondents, 44 (18%) reported that their program activities included research. However, closer examination of research goals and methods revealed that only 20 programs (8%) of the total were involved in formal data collection or analysis (Figure 1). The remaining 24 programs' efforts can best be described as literature reviews. These programs were using the results of others' research in program planning, or were collecting information from a variety of sources to cite in reports and literature.

FIGURE 1. PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS REPORTING RESEARCH ACTIVITIES VERSUS THOSE COLLECTING OR ANALYZING DATA

Of the 20 programs deemed to be conducting research, 45% were directed at problem assessment, 40% were program evaluations, and 15% attempted to understand violent phenomena. Approximately 72% of the research reported was descriptive in nature, while 11% and 17% respectively, involved efforts that enabled identification of risk factors and hypotheses testing (Figure 2).

FIGURE 2. RESEARCH METHODS USED BY RESPONDENTS ENGAGED IN DATA COLLECTION OR ANALYSES


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