FamilySafe Project Evaluation: Implementation and Outcomes of Family-Focused Counseling for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

Posted in: News

Posted on September 7, 2023

The FamilySafe Project (FSP) provides family-focused counseling and other services to survivors of gender-based violence and their children in New York City. The FSP is implemented by Sanctuary for Families (Sanctuary) and STEPS to End Family Violence (STEPS). The Urban Institute, in partnership with researchers Meredith Dank and Andrea Hughes, conducted an evaluation of the FSP from March 2019 to September 2022. The project and its evaluation were funded under the CJII.

Sanctuary and STEPS successfully designed and continue to implement a trauma-focused model of programming that treats diverse families as a unit and facilitates communication and collaboration between the adult and child treatment staff. Overall, clinicians reported that the design and implementation of the FSP and FSPAT was successful. Clients generally report positive experiences with the FSP and other services provided by Sanctuary and STEPS. Although Sanctuary and STEPS take slightly different implementation approaches, the organizations have largely adhered to the envisioned FSP model and made adaptations to the model to address challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, even though CJII funding has ended, both organizations continue to implement the FSP model and the FSPAT in their counseling services with families.

This successful implementation resulted in several positive outcomes for adults, children, and the families overall, including:

  • Adult clients reported that they experienced increased confidence, self-esteem, and understanding of their trauma. They also experienced significant reductions in their levels of PTSD symptoms, as measured through assessments.
  • At the family level, many adult clients reported that they were better able to problem-solve, had improved communication, and had strengthened relationships with their children.
  • Families experienced increases in protective factors as measured through assessments.
  • Parents reported that children’s grades in school and their ability to manage emotions improved.
  • Children also experienced significant reductions in PTSD symptoms, as reported by their parents.

See CUNY ISLG’s blog for a high-level overview of the program’s impact on participants as well as a look at how the program used evidence-based assessments to provide targeted services.

Download the full final evaluation here.

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