Family Violence

Revised January 3, 2012


To provide information and guidelines to social service case workers regarding victims of Family Violence.

  1. Family Violence crosses all socio-economic boundaries. DSHS adopted the Family Violence Option to PROWRA in 1996 and is, therefore, required to screen and identify all TANF clients for Family Violence. (See WAC 388-61-001.) However any client who utilizes any service provided by the Community Services Office may be affected by Family Violence.
  2. The case worker may find out about a client who is dealing with Family Violence in several different ways including:
    • A referral from the WorkFirst Case Manager, or
    • Self-disclosure by the client while being assessed for other issues.


  1. The case worker must interview and assess for safety and other needs.
  2. The case worker must determine if the client:
    1. Needs immediate help to ensure safety for themselves or their children;
    2. Has been mentally, physically or emotionally hurt;
    3. Needs assistance with shelter / housing;
    4. Has a current protection order or wishes to obtain one. If the client wishes to pursue a protection order, offer a referral to a family violence advocate for help in considering all risk factors involved;
    5. Has a safety plan;
    6. Is a battered immigrant (see EA-Z Manual - Citizenship and Alien Status - B. - Eligibility Restrictions for TANF), determine if client needs assistance with obtaining employment authorization; or
    7. Needs help to establish good cause for not cooperating with the Division of Child Support. See Good Cause.
  3. The case worker must refer the client for appropriate services such as shelter, legal, health, transportation, etc., taking into account linguistic and cultural needs in making referrals.

Best Practices

Victims of Family Violence may be reluctant or unwilling to talk to you about what is going on. Some common situations and possible actions may include:

What do I do if the client does not recognize control issues as “family violence” (especially if there are no physical signs present)?
It may be beneficial to talk with the client and walk through the dynamics of power and control.
What do I do if the client is too afraid to talk to me? 
Be sure you know what safety measures are immediately available. Reassure the client and seek help from your local crisis agencies.
What do I do when the client tells me that family violence is affecting them and there is nothing I can do? 
Reassure the client there is help available and utilize available support services.

There are on-site domestic violence advocates stationed in several CSOs. If your office has an advocate on site, coordinate services with them. If you don’t have an advocate, establish working relationships with your local community resources. See the Department’s website for Domestic Violence and Victim Services Programs for ways to create a process to coordinate with your local resources.

WFHB Chapter 6.5 - Family Violence

EA-Z Manual - Confidentiality B. - Address Confidentiality Program.