The visitation center is part of a larger community response to enhance safety of child(ren) and adult victims and hold batterers accountable, while providing access to visitation and exchange services. Visitation centers are among few programs that interact with each member of the family. As such, they have a unique opportunity to identify needs and gaps in services for child(ren) and adult victims, batterers, and the community at large.

Visitation centers serving child(ren) and adult victims of domestic violence are in a position to: provide a safe space for children to visit with the non-custodial parent; help keep child(ren) and adult victims of domestic violence safe during exchanges and visitation; hold batterers accountable for their violence and abuse during visitation and exchange; be part of an expansion of services to support child(ren) and adult victims; and provide access to meaning referrals.

Child Custody and Visitation Information
  • Abusive Men’s Use of Children to Control Their Partners and Ex-Partners by Marisa L. Beeble, Deborah Bybee, and Cris M. Sullivan in Vol. 12, No. 1 of European Psychologist (2007). This study represents the first step in examining both the extent to which, and the various ways by which, abusive men use children to control and terrorize their partners. Read this abstract
  • If I Killed You, I’d Get the Kids: Women’s Survival and Protection Work with Child Custody and Access in the Context of Woman Abuse by Colleen Varcoe and Lori G. Irwin in Vol. 27, No. 1 of Qualitative Sociology (2004). This article discusses how child custody and access processes provide opportunities for abusive partners to exert power and control over their partners and children and discusses how these opportunities are often supported by policies and practices of service providers. Read this article
  • Shared Parenting After Abuse: Battered Mothers’ Perspectives on Parenting After Dissolution of a Relationship by Carolyn Tubbs and Oliver Williams in Parenting by Men Who Batter: New Directions for Assessment and Intervention (2007). This chapter focuses on the question of what types of shared parenting expectations do battered women have in reference to the men with whom they have a shared history of violence. Read this chapter
  • The Parenting of Men Who Batter by Lundy Bancroft in Court Review: The Journal of the American Judges Association (Summer 2002). This article discusses the parenting characteristics commonly observed in batterers and the implications for children’s emotional and physical well-being, their relationships with their mothers and siblings, and the development of their belief systems. Read this article
  • Understanding Women’s Experiences Parenting in the Context of Domestic Violence: Implications for Community and Court-Related Service Providers by Peter G. Jaffe and Claire V. Crooks, Violence Against Women Online Resources (2005). This paper identifies and discusses seven central themes that highlight the intersection between women abuse and parenting. Specific implications and recommendations for community and court service providers are offered. Read this paper
Domestic Violence Information
  • Advocacy Beyond Leaving: Helping Battered Women in Contact with Current or Former Spouses by Jill Davies, Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) (2009). This guide offers practical suggestions to assist advocates working day-to-day with victims and uses the familiar and concrete framework of woman-defined advocacy to explain advocates’ important role in safety planning when victims are in contact with current or former spouses. Read this guide
  • Domestic Violence in the Lives of Children by Jeffrey L. Edelson and Jessie Bills, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, University of Minnesota (2009). This online learning module addresses the impact of adult-to-adult domestic violence on the lives of children. It details how children are exposed to domestic violence and discusses current research findings. Review this learning module
  • Domestic Violence Programs and Children’s Records: Issues of Confidentiality and Release by Sandra Tibbets and Jenna Yauch, Battered Women’s Justice Project (2009). The importance of confidentiality in the lives of battered women and their children cannot be understated. Preserving confidentiality for these women and children is central to ensuring their safety and allowing them to regain and retain control over their lives. This paper provides guidance to domestic violence programs regarding children’s records and serves as a starting place for internal policy development on this issue. Read this paper
  • Helping Children Thrive: Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers by Linda Baker and Alison Cunningham, Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System (2004). This guide is for service providers assisting victims of domestic violence. It addresses the needs of abused women as mothers, the parenting of abusive men, how abusive men effect family dynamics, the effects of power and control on mothers, the potential impact of woman abuse on children of different ages, and strategies used by young people to cope with violence in their homes and offers guidance on parenting children exposed to violence. Read this guide
  • Intersection of Disability, Diversity, and Domestic Violence: Results of National Focus Groups by Elizabeth Lightfoot and Oliver Williams in Vol. 18, No. 2 of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma (2009). This article examines the unique issues faced by people with physical and sensory disabilities in accessing help for domestic violence, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of people of color with disabilities. Read this article
  • Substance Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence by Larry Bennett and Patricia Bland, National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (2008). This paper discusses the co-occurrence of substance abuse and intimate partner violence, highlights the special role of men’s drunkenness in intimate partner violence, examines substance abuse by victims of intimate partner violence, and presents issues related to coordination and integration of substance abuse and intimate partner violence services. Read this paper

  • Assessing Risk Factors for Intimate Partner Homicide by Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., National Institute of Justice Journal (2003). This study of the Danger Assessment Tool finds that despite certain limitations, the tool can, with some reliability, identify women who may be at risk of being killed by an intimate partner. Read this study
  • Conceptualizing Trauma and Resilience Across Diverse Contexts by Pratyusha Tummala-Narra in Vol. 14, No. 1 of the Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma (2007). This article provides a multicultural understanding of trauma and resilience as experienced in the lives of individuals from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. Read this article
  • It’s In Their Culture: Fairness and Cultural Considerations in Domestic Violence by Sujata Warrier in Vol. 46, No. 3 of the Family Court Review (2008). This essay develops a critical framework on the issue of culture and provides specific ways in which a more nuanced understanding of culture is helpful for court personnel as they grapple with how to work with a diverse population. Read this essay
  • Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Challenges, Promising Practices, and Recommendations by Michael Runner et al., Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) (2009). This report examines the issue of intimate partner violence in immigrant and refugee communities in the United States from a variety of standpoints, including the legal rights and practical challenges facing immigrant and refugee victims of violence, the ways systems are responding, and the promising practices. Read this report
  • Little Eyes, Little Ears: How Violence Against Mothers Shapes Children as They Grow by Alison Cunningham and Linda Baker, Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System (2007). This publication examines how children experience violence against their mothers and how those experiences may shape them as they grow, from infancy to adolescence. Read this publication
  • Power and Control Wheel by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. The Power and Control Wheel was developed from the experience of battered women in Duluth who had been abused by their male partners. It does not attempt to give a broad understanding of all violence in the home or community, but instead offers a more precise explanation of the tactics men use to batter women. View the Power and Control Wheel
  • Safety Planning by Jill Davies, Greater Hartford Legal Assistance (1997). This paper discusses how to implement comprehensive safety planning for battered women using a women-centered model. It also discusses batterer-generated and life-generated risks and the role of advocates in supporting safety planning strategies. Read this paper
  • Shout. The Story of Domestic Violenceby Sam Nuttmann and Mark Davis, Session 7 Media (2010). This documentary film follows the story of Sam Nuttmann, whose sister was murdered as a result of domestic violence, as he discusses the realities of domestic violence through personal interviews with survivors, politicians, domestic violence advocates, family members, legal professionals, journalists, and others affected by the issue. View the film
  • Violence Against Immigrant Women: The Roles of Culture, Context, and Legal Immigrant Status on Intimate Partner Violence by Anita Raj and Jay Silverman in Vol. 8, No. 3 of Violence Against Women (2001). This article reviews the research literature and finds that the little data that exists demonstrates that immigrant women’s cultures, contexts, and legal status (a) increase vulnerability for abuse, (b) are used by batterers to control and abuse immigrant women, and (c) create barriers to women seeking and receiving help. Read this article
  • Violence Against Women with Mental Illness by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (2007). This report reviews existing literature on mental illness and victimization; provides information on relevant mental health or victim service programs and resources; and recommends research, methods of developing policy and programs, and types of training and education to improve services for this population. Read this report

Show Additional Resources

Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange General Resources
  • A Toolkit for Monitored Exchange Services by the Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation (2007). This toolkit contains information that will help organizations and individuals determine what types of monitored exchange programs exist and how to go about establishing a monitored exchange program. Read this toolkit
  • Danger Zone: Battered Mothers and their Families in Supervised Visitation by Tracee Parker, Kellie Rogers, Meghan Collins, and Jeffrey L. Edelson in Vol. 14, No. 11 of Violence Against Women (2008). This article describes some of the key lessons learned over 18 months of planning and then another 48 months of implementation at a supervised visitation center developed specifically to serve families for whom domestic violence was their primary reason for referral. Read this article
  • Supervised Access and Exchange Programs: Safety for Parents and Children in the Context of Domestic Violence by Leslie M. Tutty, Ashley Barlow, and Gillian Weaver-Dunlop in Vol. 3, No. 2 of Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly (2010). This article describes a program in Canada that provides a neutral and safe place for visitation to occur that minimizes contact between women and their abusive partners and describes the characteristics of this program, its effectiveness, and some of the controversies surrounding its use. Read this article
Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program Specific Resources
  • Beyond Observation: Considerations for Advancing Domestic Violence Practice in Supervised Visitation by Jay Campbell, Derrick Gordon, and Ona Foster on behalf of Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) (2008). This publication presents considerations for expanded practice in the Supervised Visitation Program and describes interventions that go beyond observation in the supervised visitation setting. The information for this publication comes from a number of sources, including interviews with experts in the field; a review of the literature on supervised visitation; observations of center operations; and focus groups conducted with consumers, staff, judges, lawyers, and key constituents of supervised visitation centers. Read this publication
  • Building Safety, Repairing Harm: Lessons Learned from the Office on Violence Against Women’s Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program – Demonstration Initiative by Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2008). This report presents the demonstration initiative’s collective and individual examination of visitation center practices, community partnerships, cultural accessibility, security, and sustainability. The four demonstration sites were: the Bay Area, CA; the City of Chicago, IL; the City of Kent, WA; and the State of Michigan. Read this publication
  • Concepts in Creating Culturally Responsive Services for Supervised Visitation Centers by Dr. Oliver J. Williams on behalf of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (2007). This publication was developed to assist Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program grantees with examining how they serve culturally diverse populations. It encourages grantees to reflect on the good work they already do and to consider how they can enhance their efforts to support diverse populations in the context of court-referred supervised visitation when domestic violence is an issue. Read this publication
  • Engage to Protect: Foundations for Supervised Visitation and Exchange – Discussion Paper 1: Recognizing and Understanding Battering by Ellen Pence and Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2009). This discussion paper examines the various types of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a broad category that has come to include many kinds of violence and behaviors within relationships between intimate partners and, in most states, relationships between family and other household members. The term domestic violence tends to focus attention on acts of physical violence and obscure attention to ongoing coercion, intimidation, and emotional harm. The lack of distinction about the type and intent of violence has led to a generic response that fails to make critical distinctions in its deliberations and actions on behalf of the state. Read this paper
  • Engage to Protect: Foundations for Supervised Visitation and Exchange – Discussion Paper 2: Engaging with Battered Women in Supervised Visitation Centers by Maren Hansen-Kramer, Julie Tilley, Beth McNamara, and Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2009). This discussion paper sets forth a framework for working with mothers who have been battered that requires thoughtful engagement with these women. Meeting these goals rests on the approach, as made possible by workers’ knowledge and skills in key areas, which are discussed. Read this paper
  • Engage to Protect: Foundations for Supervised Visitation and Exchange – Discussion Paper 3: Engaging with Men who Batter in Supervised Visitation Centers by Maren Hansen-Kramer, Julie Tilley, Beth McNamara, and Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2009). This discussion paper presents a framework for safely and skillfully engaging with fathers who have been or are currently battering their children’s mother. Meeting these goals rests on the approach, as made possible by workers’ knowledge and skills in key areas, which are discussed. Read this paper
  • Engage to Protect: Foundations for Supervised Visitation and Exchange – Discussion Paper 4: Informing the Practice of Supervised Visitation by Melanie Shepard, Jane Sadusky, and Beth McNamara on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2009). This discussion paper reviews six approaches to learning about the quality and impact of supervised visitation practices from participants, staff, volunteers, and community partners. They include: questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, check-ins, case file reviews, and case consultations. Read this paper
  • Engage to Protect: Foundations for Supervised Visitation and Exchange – Discussion Paper 5: Crafting Policies that Account for Battering by Ellen Pence and Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2009). The approach to crafting policies described in this discussion paper has the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program’s Guiding Principles as its backdrop. It has been written primarily for centers that have elected to operate within those principles. While it is convenient to cut and paste, policies must belong to an organization. The process of policy making is crucial to an organization’s ability to successfully implement those very policies. This paper offers nine tips that can help a visitation program stay on course as it maneuvers through the complexities of policymaking. Read this paper
  • Fathering After Violence: Working with Abusive Fathers in Supervised Visitation by Juan Carlos Areán on behalf of Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) (2008). This guide is intended to assist the grantees of the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program that want to enhance the safety and well-being of women and children by working more deliberately with abusive fathers who use the centers to visit their children. Although fathers are not always the visiting parents and, in fact, in some centers mothers make up almost half of the visiting caseload, this document was designed to target in particular visiting fathers who have been violent with their intimate partners. Read this guide
  • Guiding Principles of the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice (2007). This resource was created to guide the development of and administration of Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program (Supervised Visitation Program) centers with an eye toward addressing the needs of children and adult victims of domestic violence in visitation and exchange settings. The Guiding Principles look beyond the visitation and exchange setting to address how communities funded under the Supervised Visitation Program can address domestic violence in the larger community. Read the Guiding Principles
  • New Perspectives on Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange: Orientation by Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2008). This document provides an overview of a shift in practice under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program: the change from agency-centered intake to person-centered orientation as a framework for welcoming mothers, fathers, and children to the experience of supervised visitation. It presents the broad sweep of questions and new perspectives that have emerged from the work and discussions involving the Office on Violence Against Women, the demonstration initiative sites, other grantees, and the grant program’s technical assistance partners. Read this document
  • On Safety’s Side: Protecting Those Vulnerable to Violence by Martha McMahon and Ellen Pence on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2008). This document is an invitation to visitation centers serving families with a history of domestic violence to engage far more actively and broadly in the work of protecting victims of violence. Doing so involves protecting both adult and child victims and requires a re-examination of the idea that visitation centers have an obligation to the court to be neutral in the “conflict between parents using a center.” Read this publication
  • Ozha Wahbeganniss: Exploring Supervised Visitation & Exchange Services in Native American Communities by Lauren J. Litton and Dr. Oliver J. Williams on behalf of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community. This report reflects the first step in an opportunity to critically think about how supervised visitation and safe exchange services can be crafted and implemented by tribal communities in a manner that offers safety, respect, healing, health, and serenity. It highlights recommendations stemming from discussion groups held with Native American professionals and consumers about how these services can be created in a way that both meets the needs of families and is valued by the community. Read this report
  • Safe Passage: Supervised Safe Exchange for Battered Women and Their Children by Jane Sadusky on behalf of Praxis International, Inc. (2010). “Safe exchange” has been the phrase that follows supervised visitation since the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program was first established through the Office on Violence Against Women in 2002. It is a service associated with supervised visitation centers, but one that has been largely overshadowed by the attention to supervised visits. This publication sums up key issues in supervised safe exchange, presents strategies to address those issues, and suggests policy and procedure changes that will help visitation programs deliver this critical service as skillfully and safely as possible. Read this publication
  • Supervised Visitation Programs: Information for Mothers who Have Experienced Abuse by Jill Davies, Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) (2007). This guide is for mothers who have experienced abuse and whose children are in supervised visitation programs. It is designed to help women whether they are visiting children or bringing children to visit. Read this guide
Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Audit Reports
  • Safety and Accountability Audit Reports for the Demonstration Initiative Sites – Bay Area, CA by Praxis International, Inc. (2004, revised 2006). The four sites chosen as demonstration initiative sites under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Demonstration Initiative were required to conduct community-based assessments utilizing the methodologies of the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit. Each demonstration site explored a different question related to the design and delivery of visitation and exchange services. The Bay Area explored how the work of visitation centers produces safety for everyone involved. Read this report
  • Safety and Accountability Audit Reports for the Demonstration Initiative Sites – City of Chicago, IL by Praxis International, Inc. (2005). The four sites chosen as demonstration initiative sites under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Demonstration Initiative were required to conduct community-based assessments utilizing the methodologies of the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit. Each demonstration site explored a different question related to the design and delivery of visitation and exchange services. The City of Chicago explored how visitation centers account for peoples’ unique cultures and identities. Read this report
  • Safety and Accountability Audit Reports for the Demonstration Initiative Sites – City of Kent, WA by Praxis International, Inc. (2007). The four sites chosen as demonstration initiative sites under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Demonstration Initiative were required to conduct community-based assessments utilizing the methodologies of the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit. Each demonstration site explored a different question related to the design and delivery of visitation and exchange services. The City of Kent explored how victims of battering who might benefit from supervised visitation services identify and access them. Read this report
  • Safety and Accountability Audit Reports for Demonstration Initiative Sites - State of Michigan by Praxis International, Inc. (2004). The four sites chosen as demonstration initiative sites under the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Demonstration Initiative were required to conduct community community-based assessments utilizing the methodologies of the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit. Each demonstration site explored a different question related to the design and delivery of visitation and exchange services. The State of Michigan explored the role of supervised visitation centers. Read this report