Advancing domestic violence program evaluation: Development and validation of the Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS)

Lisa A. Goodman, Lauren Bennett Cattaneo, Kristie Thomas, Julie Woulfe, Siu Kwan Chong, Katya Fels Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective: As budgets tighten and demand grows, domestic violence (DV) programs are facing enormous pressure to demonstrate the impact of their work. A critical challenge to doing so is the absence of outcome measures that reflect DV programsa' missions and survivorsa' goals for themselves. Academic-community partnerships are critical to developing such measures. The 2 aims of this study were to (a) develop and validate a measure-the Measure of Victim Empowerment Related to Safety (MOVERS)-that taps a key goal shared by DV program staff and program participants, and (b) draw on and model the benefits of community-based participatory research. Method: We evaluated the factor structure, reliability, and validity of MOVERS through a 2-stage process in which we developed a university-community partnership with 17 DV programs across the Northeast and administered a survey to 230 help-seeking survivors. Results: A scree plot and parallel analysis supported a 3-factor solution, with subscales assessing the extent to which a survivor (a) has developed a set of safety-related goals and a belief in her ability to accomplish them, (b) perceives that she has the support she needs to move toward safety, and (c) senses that her actions toward safety will not cause new problems in other domains. Each subscale demonstrated good internal reliability and construct validity. Conclusion: MOVERS provides a tool for assessing a key dimension of survivorsa' experience and enables the evaluation of domestic violence program practices in ways that are consistent with core program and survivor goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-366
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • community-based participatory research
  • domestic violence
  • empowerment
  • evaluation
  • intimate partner violence
  • outcome measure
  • safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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