IPRV was founded specifically to fill a need in the market for evidence-based violence prevention education, outreach, and publications. At the heart of each of IPRV's initiatives is well documented, soundly researched information upon which compelling messages can be built.

The original research IPRV conducts is designed to support violence prevention initiatives at three levels:

  • Primary Prevention reaches individuals before the cycle of violence ever begins in their lives. It teaches teenagers and adults how to recognize and respond to the early warning signs of a potentially violent relationship so they can avoid the experience of violence in their lives altogether. By teaching individuals how to treat each other with kindness and respect, and to require such treatment from others in return, we strike at the roots of relationship violence and create the foundation of a world where such violence is unthinkable.
  • Secondary Prevention intervenes after the cycle of violence has already begun and facilitates complete healing from the trauma so individuals move from victimization to survivorship to a place of integrated wholeness wherein they become the heroes of their own lives and stories. With the appropriate knowledge and tools, victims are empowered to prevent the violence from repeating itself, and are supported in working constructively with violent trauma as a transformative experience.
  • And finally, Tertiary Prevention involves community outreach and education on a broad scale. It raises the issue of relationship violence in a safe, yet significant way, acknowledging the enormity of the problem while inspiring hope that such violence can be prevented and ultimately eliminated. This type of outreach leads to less community acceptance of violence, more understanding about the dynamics of relationship violence, and an increased collective commitment to prevent such violence in compassionate, informed, and powerful ways.

During the past ten years IPRV has engaged in two significant research projects, led by Principal Investigator Dr. Wind Goodfriend. These research projects form the foundation upon which our education programs, outreach initiatives, consulting practices, and publications are built.

Early Warning Signs

In 2005, IPRV embarked on a research initiative that was designed to identify and validate the early warning signs of a potentially violent relationship. The end result of this inquiry is an evidence-based practical tool that teaches individuals how to recognize and respond to the identified signs in order to prevent such violence from becoming part of their lives. The initial list of fourteen signs was created from both a review of extant psychological literature and from qualitative experiences in victim support groups. The list was adapted into a survey format, then given to two separate groups of respondents. The first group was over 600 college students from a middle-sized, urban university. The second group was over 150 adult women who had experienced violent relationships and were currently seeking Civil Protection Orders against their partners. All of the participants completed packets of materials including both the list of warning signs and scales measuring things like how violent their relationship was and whether they had experienced anxiety and depression. After all data were collected, statistical analyses such as correlation matrixes and factor analysis tests confirmed that all fourteen warning signs were important predictors of violence in a relationship.

Narrative Therapy Protocol

In 2007, IPRV sought to develop a protocol that would facilitate healing for individuals who had previously experienced trauma from relationship violence. IPRV developed a Narrative Therapy Protocol and recruited research participants to engage in the protocol. Participants were screened by licensed mental health professionals who verified that the client/patients were in the end stages of psychological therapy for violent trauma. During the writing process, all of the writers engaged in both individual and group therapy in the form of a Hope Group that was facilitated by mental health professionals who were certified in IPRV's Narrative Therapy Protocol. Each participant was assigned a set of writing prompts that was specific to the type of violence s/he had experienced: child abuse, dating violence, domestic violence, etc. Participants were initially assessed using standardized scales that quantitatively measured their baseline levels of anxiety and depression. IPRV is currently engaged in the second phase of this research project in order to determine whether or not the narrative therapy protocol has a longitudinal impact on participants. During this phase IPRV is piloting the initial assessment data with data from a second cohort group that will be assessed through the standardized scales at the conclusion of the writing process and then again six months after the process has ended. Building upon the findings of previous research into narrative therapy, IPRV's working hypothesis is that the assessed quantitative markers will show temporary decreases in mental health due to re-living the trauma, but that within six months mental health will be better than the baseline assessment. This would support the conclusion that participants experience longitudinal increased well-being due to narrative therapy, which allows for further integration and resolution of the trauma they experienced.

For additional information about IPRV's original research, corresponding programs and publications, or to inquire about retaining IPRV to conduct original research, please e-mail iprv@bvu.edu.