The Supervised Visitation Initiative (SVI) works with supervised visitation programs funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to enhance their capacity to effectively and safely serve families who have experienced domestic violence. The initiative provides these programs with training, tailored consultation, and access to information on best practices from programs across the country.

SVI provides support to community partners involved with the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program, including staff of supervised visitation programs, domestic and sexual violence advocates, local governments, and court partners. SVI staff assist communities in addressing a variety of topics ranging from the intersection of domestic violence and custody to working with all members of a family in the aftermath of violence to designing and maintaining supervised visitation and safe exchange services that centralize safety and address domestic violence. We provide this support through national conferences, audio trainings, phone consultations, and on-site technical assistance. Our assistance is tailored to meet the needs of each community we work with, including those communities that have been providing visitation and exchange for years and those that are creating new services. The knowledge gained by the communities will ultimately benefit families who have experienced domestic violence and who are accessing visitation services.

Why We Need This Program 
Survivors of domestic violence and their children often experience increases in violence when they are seeking to gain independence from their abusers, especially during divorce and custody proceedings. Moreover, persons who batter often use access to the children as a means to continue to control, stalk, and intimidate victims. Increasingly, courts across the United States are ordering supervised visitation of children when these dynamics are occurring. As staff of these supervised visitation programs deal with complicated and potentially dangerous situations, they need to understand the dynamics of battering so they can respond in ways that account for the safety of victims of domestic violence and their children.

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Former Project Director, Supervised Visitation Initiative, Center on Victimization and Safety