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UNC honors domestic violence researcher Macy

School of Social Work Associate Professor Rebecca Macy was among seven UNC faculty recognized recently for their service as a Faculty Engaged Scholar.

Class II of the Carolina Center for Public Service’s Faculty Engaged Scholars program held a graduation ceremony Jan. 7 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. The seven scholars, representing various disciplines across campus, received cords and certificates during the ceremony, which highlighted each person’s engaged scholarship.

For her project, Macy developed interventions with women and children who are survivors of domestic violence, to promote their well-being and prevent re-victimization. It is a community-based, four-year research study on the effectiveness of the Mothers Overcoming Violence through Education and Empowerment (MOVE) Parent-Child Intervention.

MOVE is a collaborative effort between Wake County human services agencies InterAct and SAFEchild. InterAct provides domestic violence prevention services and SAFEchild provides child abuse prevention services. Together these agencies offer a 13-week parenting program for female domestic violence survivors in conjunction with therapeutic support group services for their children. Preliminary study results suggest mothers who are domestic violence survivors may be reluctant to allow data collected about their children. However, this data is critical for determining the effectiveness of the children’s therapeutic support group services.

Macy’s engaged scholarship project, supported in part by the UNC School of Social Work, enabled her to collect additional information from the mothers about what data should be collected, preferred means for researchers to approach the logistics, and how best to collect data from children 5 and under. Macy’s research team will use the information gained from this additional study to modify and improve their current research efforts, and develop data collection protocols for future studies with children affected by domestic violence.

“The Faculty Engaged Scholars Program has given me a unique and important opportunity to learn theories, frameworks and strategies that have enhanced my community-based and collaborative research,” said Macy. “The program also offered me the opportunity to network with smart, creative and delightful UNC colleagues who are also conducting engaged scholarship. I have learned a tremendous amount from my colleagues over these past two years. And I have been inspired by their dedication and passion. I have no doubt that I will keep up with these contacts for the rest of my career.”