Domestic Violence: a Public Health Issue and a College of Social Work MOOC

Domestic Violence: a Public Health Issue and a College of Social Work MOOC
Domestic Violence: a Public Health Issue and a College of Social Work MOOC

Millions of Americans each year experience domestic violence. It is a tragedy and a crime that can affect anyone, regardless of race, background, or socioeconomic status.  Because it is so prevalent, social workers should understand the dynamics of domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, to be able to offer victims resources and break the cycle of violence. The FSU College of Social Work (CSW) made it much easier for social workers to recognize the crime and assist survivors with a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Understanding Domestic Violence as a Social Service Provider. The training provides a graphic rich, multimedia experience for students to learn about the dynamics of domestic violence.

In this free three-hour course, students learn about the common dynamics of domestic violence, how victims respond to and cope with their situation, the importance of creating a safety plan with victims and how domestic violence impacts children and victims. Students also learn how social workers play a vital role in helping survivors receive competent and compassionate services.

This course was created by a diverse team of students and faculty at the Institute for Family Violence Studies within the CSW. The Institute partnered with FSU’s College of Communication to create the videos used in this course. There are three videos: Myths and Facts Concerning Domestic Violence, Working with Victims, and A Survivor’s Story.  In one video, students watch a licensed clinical social worker discussing what is most important for professionals to remember when working with clients who have been or are experiencing domestic violence.  The content is emotionally charged, but the course is self-paced, so students can take breaks whenever necessary and return where they left off.   

Throughout the course, there are Reflection Questions that encourage students to think about why clients might try to hide the fact that they are victims, and how blaming the victim for the violence allows the perpetrator to escape accountability. These questions give students the opportunity to connect course content about dynamics of domestic violence to their work as social workers. Persistent myths are debunked in the training, and case scenarios help students apply what they have learned. Students are also provided with national and local resources throughout the course so that they better understand the current programs and services available to victims.

Understanding Domestic Violence as a Social Service Professional is approved for continuing education credits in the state of Florida for clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors. All students who successfully complete the course and pass the final quiz receive a certificate of completion.

Every individual in our community plays a role in the intervention and prevention of domestic violence, and this course will help you develop greater competency in this issue.  No matter your career path, it is likely that you will encounter a client who is or has been a victim. All social workers must be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to help those victims reach the safety and security they deserve.

Access the course here; please click the "Enroll" button. If students do not currently have an account with Open Education, they can create a free account.

For further reading, check out this blog post: Qualities Needed for Working with Victims of Sex Crimes