Awareness of turning points shared by abused women can help health care workers provide counseling
Research Activities, September 2010, No. 361
Women involved in abusive relationships who leave their partners share common experiences that prompt their departures, a new study finds. Judy C. Chang, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and colleagues held focus groups with 41 women and interviewed 20 more women who were undergoing counseling for domestic violence. They identified five turning points that health care workers may be able to identify to motivate women to leave their abusers.
Some of the women reported that they fled their abusers when they feared the abuse would spill over onto another family member, especially their children. They also left home when the abuse intensified, causing them to fear for their lives. The realization that support and assistance was available to them also empowered women to leave. Finally, fatigue from continually losing hope that their situation would change and an abuser's unfaithfulness were last straws for some abuse victims. Health care providers who are aware of these catalysts may be better able to counsel abused women and help them explore options for ending the abuse, the authors suggest. This study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13913).
"Understanding turning points in intimate partner violence: Factors and circumstances leading women victims toward change," by Dr. Chang, Diane Dado, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Lynn Hawker, Ph.D., and others in the February 2010 Journal of Women's Health 19(2), pp. 251-259.