The more perpetrator pattern focused a system becomes, the more likely it is to move toward domestic violence competency and proficiency. What is the definition of a perpetrator pattern-based approach? The definition of a perpetrator pattern-based approach is policy and practice that 1) approaches the issue of domestic violence and children through the lens of the perpetrator’s behavior pattern as the source of child risk and safety concerns, 2) identifies domestic violence perpetration as a parenting choice, 3) understands the foundation of good child centered domestic violence practice requires the ability to describe the specific behaviors the domestic violence perpetrator has engaged in to create harm to child and family functioning and 4) bases it partnerships with adult domestic violence survivors around the idea that domestic violence perpetrators, not the adult survivor, are responsible for the risk and safety concerns the violence and abuse is creating for the children. The main marker of this is that documentation, case decision making and case planning are visibly based on the perpetrator’s behavior pattern.

A perpetrator pattern approach is also child-centered and survivor-strength based. What is the definition of child-centered? Child-centered is defined by 1) how closely tied the discussion about domestic violence is tied to child and family functioning.  A key marker of this is how well we tell the story about how the domestic violence perpetrator’s behavior is harming child and family functioning and also how well we tell the story of how the adult survivor’s protective behavior and choices.  What is the definition of survivor-strength based? A survivor strength-based approach is defined by the assessment and documentation of full range of the adult survivor’s protective capacities. It emphasizes the survivor’s day-to-day efforts, particularly as it relates to child well being The key marker of this is the ability to assess, document and validate adult survivor’s strengths around the safety and well being of the children.

These definitions support the implementation of the Safe and Together model and are integral to helping child welfare systems become domestic violence-informed.