Research Associate Professor Briana Barocas Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Develop Domestic Violence Database

Briana Barocas, a research associate professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and been accepted into its prestigious Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program. Barocas will use the funding to research, develop, and launch a domestic violence knowledge database based on her research with Linda G. Mills, the Lisa Ellen Goldberg Professor and executive director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery.

Through her I-Corps project, titled “The Domestic Violence Treatment Knowledge Bank,” Barocas and her team will develop a digital database providing resources on the implementation, service provision, and evaluation of treatment programs throughout the United States. A primary focus will be on domestic violence perpetrators with a secondary focus on addressing the needs of domestic violence victims.

For Barocas the motivation to focus the knowledge bank around resources for perpetrators, as opposed to victims’ services, is couched in the social work concept of restorative justice. “Many states now allow providers to offer alternative treatment approaches for domestic violence crimes, and victims and perpetrators across the country are seeking these treatment options both in and out of court,” she shared. “However, courts and service providers lack the necessary resources to respond to this demand. Few, if any, services collect and present information about treatment approaches in an accessible format.”

The digital service—intended for judges and service providers—will offer the practical information needed to introduce new treatment options to communities. It will include easy access to the latest research and reference materials on domestic violence treatment, a nationwide database of available treatment options, educational resources and online trainings around alternative treatment approaches, networking services to facilitate communication between alternative treatment service providers, and in-depth state-by-state analysis of relevant laws. As Barocas explained, “The service will promote and foster alternative treatment approaches for addressing domestic violence that are safe and potentially more effective than the standard treatment option offered in each state.”

Barocas is the director of research at the Center on Violence and Recovery, where she focuses her research on trauma, resiliency, and recovery. Her past work has addressed first responders, individuals and families affected by domestic violence, and survivors of the September 11 attacks.

The NSF I-Corps program is a seven-week program that trains academic researchers to be entrepreneurs, and helps transform their scientific innovations into commercially viable products. The I-Corps program utilizes a team approach, with student entrepreneurs guided throughout the program by an academic researcher and a business mentor. Barocas will be the project’s principal investigator. Jade Borgeson, NYU Abu Dhabi ’14, also of the Center on Violence and Recovery, will be the entrepreneurial lead. Cosmo Fujiyama, NYU Wagner ’13, of the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, will be the I-Corps team mentor.