Exploring inter-agency collaboration among services for victims of domestic violence

Funding: The Ministry of Justice and Public Security
Project period: 2016-2019
Elisiv Bakketeig (project leader)
Jane Dullum

Domestic violence often has severe consequences for the victims and affect many areas of their lives. They are therefore often in need of multiple services for instance by health services, child welfare services, shelters, family services, legal help, the police and the Barnahus. With many agencies and services involved,  inter-agency and inter-professional collaboration is important. However, improving services through inter-agency collaboration have been a continuous challenge since domestic violence was set on the national agenda in Norway during the 1970s.

This project focuses on four services in the Norwegian welfare system: family services, the Barnahus, the crisis centers and child welfare services. All services have an important role in dealing with domestic violence, though with different aims, tasks and organizational affiliation. Our aim is to explore if and how these agencies interact with each other in cases of domestic violence, but also with other relevant agencies. There is already  a huge body of literature about factors that promote and inhibit inter-agency collaboration. In this study, we will build on this existing body of knowledge. We examine professional experiences of collaborative practice in light of organizational, institutional, legal, historical and cultural characteristics. We also examine how these characteristics shape collaboration between agencies. The overall aim of the project is to develop our understanding of why inter-agency collaboration continues to be a challenge. We also aim to identify areas of improvement for policy and practice in order to strengthen inter-agency collaboration and thereby improve services to victims of domestic violence.

The project addresses the following research questions:

  • How do the different services work with and understand domestic violence?
  • How do organizational – and legal framework, professional disciplines and the history and culture of these agencies influence inter-agency collaboration?
  • How do the agencies interact in individual cases and on a more general level? Are there blind spots or overlapping practices? Do the services meet the needs of victims with multiple and continuous challenges?


In addition to analyses of legalization and policy documents, we will conduct  five focus group interviews with representatives from each of the services included in the study. We will also  re-analyzes existing interviews with leaders and employees at women’s shelters and Barnahus, conducted in the context of former evaluation projects.


For questions about the project, contact researcher Elisiv Bakketeig (elisiv.bakketeig@nova.hioa.no)