Risk for Intimate Partner Violence AmongParticipants in a State-Wide Relationship Education Initiative

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Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy



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As couple and relationship education (CRE) has become an increasingly common intervention, issues surrounding the awareness, prevention, and treatment of violence have been raised. Concerns include the level of risk among participants, appropriate training for educators, and the extent to which CRE increases or mitigates risks for intimate partner violence (IPV). This study reports the level of risk among CRE participants and explores the associated experiences of county Cooperative Extension agents who served as the CRE educators in Utah. The educators presumed those interested in CRE would not be experiencing IPV. However, 10% of CRE participants indicated moderate-to-severe risk, and an additional 29% indicated likelihood of at least mild violence. Implications include the need for CRE initiatives to (a) take the possibility of IPV seriously, (b) train educators to identify and handle diverse types of IPV, and (c) monitor the implementation of IPV protocols.

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