In Brief

A new domestic violence curriculum is now available to assist psychology professors who develop courses on relationship abuse or want to add information on the subject to existing courses.

"Intimate Partner Abuse and Relationship Violence," offered by APA's Public Interest Directorate, fills a gap in the training of many psychologists, says Michele Harway, PhD, chair of the APA working group that developed the curriculum.

"As a profession, we are [often] not very well-prepared to understand these issues because they aren't widely taught in psychology programs," says Harway, a family psychologist and professor at Antioch University, Santa Barbara. "This curriculum was created to ensure that information about how to train psychologists would be widely available."

The 86-page curriculum--funded by a grant from the Committee on Division/APA Relations in 2000--covers nine areas and is intended to be used to design coursework or to supplement existing curricula. "It consists of several content areas so that people can pick areas relevant to their student population," says Harway.

Curriculum topics include:

  • Definitions of intimate partner abuse and relationship violence.

  • Prevalence and incidence of relationship abuse and violence.

  • Causal models of relationship violence: mediating variables, risk factors (perpetrators) and vulnerability markers (victims).

  • Effects of relationship abuse and violence.

  • Community responses.

  • Screening and assessing for the presence of relationship violence.

  • Mental health intervention.

  • Forensic issues.

  • Prevention of relationship violence and promotion of nonviolence.

The curriculum also offers suggestions for teaching the material to undergraduate or graduate students and each section features learning objectives and a resource list of videos, books and Web sites.

"Intimate Partner Abuse and Relationship Violence" is available online.