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NCJ Number: 218289 Find in a Library
Title: Barriers to Working with Sexual Assault Survivors: A Qualitative Study of Rape Crisis Center Workers
Journal: Violence Against Women: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:April 2007  Pages:412-443
Author(s): Sarah E. Ullman; Stephanie M. Townsend
Date Published: April 2007
Page Count: 32
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored the barriers faced by rape crisis center workers when advocating for survivors.
Abstract: Results indicated that broader societal attitudes concerning the crime of rape and of rape victims were ever-present and were reflected in organizational responses to victims. As such, community and organizational attitudes about rape constituted the most significant barriers faced by rape crisis advocates. Organizational barriers included a lack of adequate resources, environmental factors, professionalization, racism, and class. The most direct form of organizational barrier was considered the experience of secondary victimization inflicted on survivors by the criminal justice system, the medical system, and the mental health system. Other results indicated that staff burnout was a significant factor affecting the ability of advocates to help survivors. While the findings suggest a variety of factors that rape crisis centers need to address to improve advocacy services to rape survivors, an increase in resources to these organizations is urgently needed to enable them to make these changes. Participants were 25 rape victim advocates who completed semi-structured interviews that focused on the advocate’s training and work experience with survivors and their views about barriers impacting their work to advocate for survivors. Grounded theory was used to classify the interview transcripts according to emerging themes. Future research should begin exploring how larger societal attitudes about rape and rape victims can be transformed to improve responses to victims. Figure, note, references
Main Term(s): Social workers; Victim services
Index Term(s): Failure factors; Sexual assault victims; Social work advocacy
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