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Oliver Williams

Director, Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, Professor
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
M.S.W., Western Michigan University
M.P.H., University of Pittsburgh

School of Social Work
Rm 105 PetersH

1404 Gortner Ave
Tel: 612/624-9217

Areas of Interest

Creating Effective Service Delivery Strategies That Will Reduce Violence Among African Americans Ethnically Sensitive Practice, Fatherhood

Research Interests


Oliver J. Williams, Ph.D., Professor of School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, in St. Paul. From 1994 to 2011 he was the Executive Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community (IDVAAC). In October 2011 he began serving as Co-Executive Director of IDVAAC. He has also served as the Director of the Safe Return Initiative that addresses the issues of prisoner reentry and domestic violence from 2003-2014. He has worked in the field of domestic violence for more than thirty years. Dr. Williams has been a clinical practitioner; working in mental health, family therapy, substance abuse, child welfare, delinquency, sexual assault, and domestic violence. He has worked in battered women's shelters, developed curricula for batterers' intervention programs and facilitated counseling groups in these programs. He has provided training across the United States and abroad on research and service-delivery surrounding partner abuse.

He has been appointed to several national advisory committees and task forces from the Center for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Office on Women’s Health, and the U.S. Department of Education. He has been a board member of various domestic violence and human service organization including the early days of the National Domestic Violence Hotline; also the National Family Justice Center Alliance Advisory Board, 2006 to 2015. In 2000, he was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Domestic Violence by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Attorney General. In 2010 he participated in a Roundtable with the U.S. Attorney General on issues related to fatherhood and participated in a Whitehouse Roundtable on Fatherhood and Domestic Violence. He has conducted training for the U.S. Military Family Advocacy programs in the U.S. and abroad and presented to numerous Family Violence, Research and Practice organizations in the United States and Abroad. Dr. Williams' research and publications in scholarly journals, books, reports and DVD’s have centered on creating service delivery strategies to reduce violent behavior and support victims of abuse. Dr. Williams has also received many awards among them include an award from the American Psychological Association, a International “Telly Award” for his documentary work; the National “Shelia Wellstone Institute Award” related to his National work on Domestic Violence and a Distinguish Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work. Dr. Williams received a bachelor's degree in social work from Michigan State University; a Masters in Social Work from Western Michigan University; a Masters in Public Health and a PH.D in Social Work both from the University of Pittsburgh.


Selected Publications

  1. Roger, B., McGee, G., Vann, A., Thompson, N., & Williams, O.J. (2003). Program development: The integration of substance abuse and domestic violence programs for women. Violence Against Women Journal. 9 (5), 590-598.

  2. Bennett, L.B., & Williams, O.J. (2003). Substance abuse and men who batter: Issues in theory and practice. Violence Against Women Journal. 9 (5), 558-575.

  3. Gondolf, E., & Williams, O.J. (2001). Culturally focused batterer counseling for African American men. Truama, Violence and Abuse. 2 (4), 283-295.

  4. Williams, O. J., & Griffin, L. W. (1996). Elder maltreatment and cultural diversity: When laws are not enough. Journal of Multicultural Social Work, 4 (2), 1-13.

  5. Williams, O. J. (1995). Treatment for African American men who batter. CURA Report, 25 (3), 6-10.

  6. Williams, O. J., & Becker, L. R. (1994). Partner abuse programs and cultural competence: The results of a national study. Violence and Victims, 9 (3), 287-295.

  7. Williams, O. J. (1994). Group work with African American men who batter: Toward more ethnically sensitive practice. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 25 (1), 91-103.

  8. Moon, A., & Williams, O. J. (1993). Perceptions of abuse and help- seeking behavior of African American, Korean, and white aged. The Gerontologist, 33 (3), 386-394.

  9. Williams, O. J. (1993). Developing an African American perspective to reduce spouse abuse: Considerations for community action. The Caucus: The Journal of the National Association of Black Social Work, 1 (2), 1-7.

  10. Griffin, L. W., & Williams, O. J. (1992). Abuse among African American elderly. Journal of Family Violence, 7 (1), 19-35.

  11. Williams, O. J. (1992). Ethnically sensitive practice in enhancing treatment participation of the African American man who batters. Families & Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 73 (10), 588-595.

  12. Williams, O. J., & Griffin, L. W. (1991). Elder abuse in the black family. In R. L. Hampton (Ed.), Black family violence: Current research and theory (pp. 117-127). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

  13. Williams, O. J. (1990). The interaction of social learning and attribution &on spouse abuse. Health and Social Policy, 1 (2), 91-107.