Family Preservation Services - Domestic Violence Services

Specialized support in situations
involving domestic violence


Domestic violence is caused by stress, substance abuse, or mental health issues.


Domestic violence is about power and control. It is behavior that is consciously chosen to control or dominate a partner.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is a pattern of behaviors used by one person to gain power and control over another person in an intimate relationship. It occurs in many kinds of intimate relationships, married and unmarried, and among people of all racial, ethnic, economic, educational, and religious backgrounds and sexual orientations. Domestic violence is present in 30 to 60 percent of the cases of child abuse and neglect nationwide.

Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services can offer special support in domestic violence situations.

Everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.

In 2005, Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services created a special Domestic Violence Unit to provide additional services in situations involving domestic violence in which children are at risk for abuse or neglect. The DV Unit is part of Family Preservation Services in the Children, Youth and Families Division of DFS.

Who is eligible for DFS domestic violence services?

To be eligible for DFS domestic violence services, a client must want the assistance and already be receiving services from one of the following Department of Family Services programs: Child Abuse Prevention Services, Child Protective Services, Family Preservation Services, or Foster Care and Adoption.

How can the DFS Domestic Violence Unit help?

Secondary Case Management

In situations involving domestic violence where children are at risk for abuse or neglect, the DV Unit provides a second social worker to work with the primary child welfare worker. The DV social worker helps the primary social worker assemble the services best suited for the victim and children, with safety as the main goal.

Direct Client Services

The DV Unit provides direct client services, including:

  • Individual client education regarding aspects of domestic violence such as power and control, the cycle of violence, safety planning, the impact of violence on children, healthy relationships, characteristics of batterers, and options counseling and assistance.
  • Assistance with obtaining protective orders and accompaniment in civil and criminal court hearings.
  • Referrals and help for victims and children to find emergency shelter, public assistance, legal services, mental health support and other services, depending on individual needs and circumstances.

Training and Outreach

The DV Unit offers training for all DFS staff on available services and best practices for working with victims of domestic violence and their families. Community outreach and education is another key role of the DV Unit. Bilingual social workers collaborate with community-based organizations to provide seminars and support groups.

Coordinated Community Response

The department’s domestic violence social workers are part of the countywide effort to establish and strengthen a coordinated community response to domestic violence, to ensure best practice in service delivery and to improve the lives of children and families in Fairfax County. Everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.

For more information about the Department of Family Services’ Domestic Violence Unit,
call: 703-324-7563; TTY 711


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