Efforts to support help-seeking by victims of partner violence in couples affected by incarceration represent a key part of larger efforts in the fields of domestic violence and victim services to improve the accessibility of services in marginalized communities and better meet complex victim needs. Qualitative data from 167 Multi-site Family Study participants suggest that involvement with the criminal justice system (whether directly or through a family member) introduces unique individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural barriers to defining one’s experiences as a problem, deciding to seek help, and selecting sources of help. Opportunities exist not only to tailor service delivery approaches in ways that overcome the individual and interpersonal obstacles that affect victims but also to pursue longer-range shifts in public policy and community infrastructure that will address broader and more-entrenched barriers to help-seeking.
Partner violence help-seeking in couples affected by incarceration
By Tasseli Eliot McKay, Megan Lee Comfort, Justin Glen Landwehr, Erin K. Kennedy, Oliver Williams.
March 2020 Open Access Peer Reviewed
- Victims who disclose their experiences to friends or family tend to receive supportive responses, and those supportive responses are associated with better mental and physical health.
- Formal supports also tend to increase victims’ chances of positive outcomes after abuse.
- Victims of intimate partner violence most often opt for private strategies, such as placation or resistance, but face increasing chances of revictimization as they increase their use of such strategies with abusers.
- There is an urgent need to identify and address the obstacles and burdens that victims, particularly victims in marginalized communities, face when seeking help for intimate partner violence.
McKay, T. E., Comfort, M. L., Landwehr, J. G., Kennedy, E. K., & Williams, O. (2020). Partner violence help-seeking in couples affected by incarceration: Overcoming barriers. RTI Press. RTI Press Publication No. PB-0021-2004 https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2020.pb.0021.2004
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