Challenges and Resources of Survivors of Domestic Violence
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SubjectScholarship Sewanee 2011; University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee; Undergraduate Research; Domestic violence; Battered women; Risk Assessment
AbstractAdvocacy for battered women often focuses on physical danger, but more attention needs to be paid to other familial, financial, and emotional risks. Research to date has likewise paid little attention to victims’ strengths and resources that can help with coping. 103 women from two sites in two southern states provided their perceptions of their risks and resources in a semi-structured format. Site 1 included current and recent shelter residents; Site 2 was a community support group for battered women. Although the risk of physical danger was reported by almost half (48%) of the sample and nearly 1 in 6 (16.5%) reported a fear of being murdered, many other risks were common. Concerns about children’s safety and wellbeing were reported by 43%, financial security issues by 53%, lack of social support by 44%, family rejection by 27%, and fear of losing custody by 27%. Despite the high reports of lack of social support and family rejection, family and friends were nonetheless two of the most commonly reported strengths (54% and 42%). Having faith (46%) and their church community (49%) were also commonly mentioned, as was having a job (40%). Implications for improving risk assessment and safety planning will be presented.
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