Strengthening What Works

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities

Women listen to their instructor at a session of Strengthening What Works.

In an effort to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations and advance the prevention of IPV, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invested in a pioneering effort to evaluate eight diverse IPV prevention programs for immigrants and refugees. The initiative also focused on building the capacity of organizations to conduct and utilize evaluations to enhance their efforts and improve their effectiveness.

Very few IPV prevention programs targeting immigrant and refugee communities have been evaluated. Strengthening What Works provided these eight grantee organizations with the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between practice and the evidence of effectiveness. Despite the different community-based approaches and their diverse ethnic populations, there were common elements across all programs, which can now be shared and leveraged to advance IPV prevention efforts.  

  • Culturally-tailored programs that focus on reframing cultural norms and promoting healthy relationships can be effective in preventing IPV within immigrant and refugee communities.

  • Promoting healthy relationships should occur within the cultural norms of the immigrant and/or refugee community.



Read the Progress Report

Strengthening What Works evaluated models for prevention of intimate partner violence in immigrant and refugee communities in the U.S. in order to identify successful practices supported by evaluation evidence that had been lacking in the field.

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Remarks from Wendy Yallowitz, Program Officer

"Community programs spend so much time directly helping people that sometimes there is very little capacity for evaluation efforts. While we know intuitively their programs have a positive impact, we have an opportunity to strengthen these results and give back to other communities with solutions to address IPV. Through this report we can give back to the field by showcasing what these groups have done in terms of meaningful evaluation, in turn providing better technical assistance to those they serve. Two of these programs—Migrant Clinician’s Network in Austin and Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco—will be adapted in new communities.”

The following programs were evaluated:

  • Youth Healthy Relationship Initiative, Arab American Action Network, Chicago, IL.  This program helps teen and young adult Arab Americans recognize IPV, reduce conflict, and develop healthy relationships.
  • Youth Empowerment Project, Asian Taskforce Against Domestic Violence, Boston, MA. A leadership program for Asian teens to help them become agents of change and anti-IPV advocates in their communities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Chai Chats and Homophobia Busters, Asian Women’s Shelter, San Francisco, CA. Programs the Asian Pacific Islander (API) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community and the wider API community to promote healthy relationships and reduce homophobia.
  • Líderes, Casa de Esperanza, St. Paul, MN. A leadership program for Latina women and girls which teaches peer leadership, communication and presentation skills to prevent IPV.
  • Dreaming and Visioning For a Better Tomorrow, Center for Pan Asian Community Services, Atlanta, GA. Educational workshops and support groups for Bhutanese and Burmese refugees to discuss IPV issues and give participants knowledge and skills for healthy relationships.
  • Promotora, Enlace Comunitario, Albequerque, NM. A leadership training program for Latina immigrant survivors of IPV to become advocates against IPV in their community.
  • Shimtuh, Korean Community Center of the East Bay, Oakland, CA. Faith-based programs for clergy and lay people to reduce IPV and build support for healthy relationships.
  • Hombres Unidos Contra Violencia Familiar (Men United Against Family Violence), Migrant Clinicians Network, Austin, TX. This program works to reduce IPV by building upon positive cultural values in the Latino migrant worker community.

Download the full executive summary with summaries of the grantee case studies to learn about each innovative and promising IPV prevention program.