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A preliminary psychosocial needs assessment of women survivors of domestic violence: A qualitative analysis

18 April 1997


Domestic violence is the single most common cause of physical injury to women in the United States. Family violence has been named as this country's number one public health concern. In addition to the more overt physical effects of abuse, domestic violence has proven to be a significant factor in attempted suicides, alcohol and drug abuse, and child abuse, as well as numerous psychological and physical disorders in its survivors. It has only been in the past two decades that social institutions have begun to address the needs of battered women. The preliminary response to the needs of battered women, to date, has focused on the more acute, concrete needs of women seeking refuge from domestic violence. Emergency shelters and transitional housing programs, along with the mental health, medical, and legal communities, have continued to explore and address the needs of survivors. Although these women's immediate needs may be recognized and mediated, the psychological and social aftermaths of abuse have yet to be adequately explored. The present study investigated the post-crisis psychosocial needs of this population. Data analysis resulted in three distinctly different but highly interdependent categories of psychosocial needs: 1) unconditional acceptance and regard; 2) reciprocity; and 3) mentoring. A preliminary model demonstrating the interdependent nature of these post-crisis needs is proposed. The impact of these needs on survivors' ability to successfully access and utilize the services necessary to their continued healing and self-sufficiency is discussed. Implications for service providers tot his population are addressed. Further research is called for.


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