IDVSA’s research focuses on national and local concerns regarding interpersonal violence, domestic violence, and human trafficking. We aim to produce Texas-specific data focused on criminal justice reform. IDVSA’s research examines the intersection of issues of poverty, race, ethnicity, and gender and how these impact the experience of violence. It is our vision to enhance the quality and relevance of research findings, their application in service provision, and ultimately, their benefit to survivors.
Since its inception in 2001, IDVSA has managed more than 50 research, education, training, and curriculum-development projects with external funding of more than $13 million from federal, state, and local sources. In addition, IDVSA provided $40,000 in “Seed Grants” to eight researchers.
IDVSA’s robust portfolio of educational products are designed for faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, practitioners and allied professionals, such as social workers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and civil attorneys, victim service providers, physicians, and nurses working with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.
IDVSA co-sponsored seven national and state conferences and its principal investigators have written more than three dozen publications and conducted hundreds of presentations at state, national and international levels. All told, through our “research-to-practice” focus, thousands of students, professionals, and laypeople are reached nationwide each year.
The Expert Witness Program and Research Fellows Program are two examples of educational initiatives managed by IDVSA.
IDVSA works with more than 150 affiliates that include researchers, practitioners, law enforcement, prosecutors, city, county, and state representatives, and faith-based and community organizations. Our researchers and staff are active members of nearly a dozen coalitions and task forces, focused on developing interventions and prevention strategies to end interpersonal violence.
Through IDVSA’s work, thousands of practitioners and students have received research-based education and thousands of victims and survivors of interpersonal violence have received better services from them as a result of this research-to-practice collaboration.
The Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, formerly known as the Institute on Violence Against Women and Their Children, was founded in early 2001 by a small group of researchers from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin who had significant direct service and practice experience with survivors prior to joining the University. Most of these faculty members were licensed social workers and were still involved in providing direct services to survivors through volunteer work. Faculty members at the School of Law and Nursing joined the collaboration.
Based on their depth of professional experience, they hypothesized that a multi-disciplinary, research-practitioner collaborative approach which utilized an ecological perspective would be the most effective strategy to develop the knowledge base further and to develop the competencies of members of the university community. At the time, three investigators for IDVSA emerged to pursue this goal. Dr. Noël Busch-Armendariz, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work, became the Principal Investigator; Sarah Buel, JD, Clinical Professor in the School of Law, became a Co-Investigator as did Dr. Regina Johnson, Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing. Dr. Holly Bell is a former Co-Investigator of IDVSA.