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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98426 Find in a Library
Title: Contact Between Battered Women and Social and Medical Agencies (From Private Violence and Public Policy, P 142-165, 1985, Jan Pahl, ed. - See NCJ-98421)
Author(s): R E Dobash; R P Dobash; K Cavanagh
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd
Boston, MA 02108
Sale Source: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd
9 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study, through interviews with battered women, analyzes the patterns of help sought by abused women and the help offered, in turn, by medical and social service agencies.
Abstract: The emergence and continuation of violence are monitored, and an early pattern of abuse, which increases in frequency and severity over time, is revealed. It is noted that the process of seeking help is not solely related to the violence of one attack, but can be the culmination of many, varied attacks, as well as other complex forces. The influence of social, moral, and material factors on the abused woman, such as feelings of family privacy and male prerogative, are delineated. The kinds of contacts abused women seek are described -- from initial contacts with relatives and friends, which usually persist over time, to formal contacts with State agencies as the violence continues or worsens. Impediments to seeking help are noted, such as shame or guilt derived from feelings of responsibility for the violence or for domestic problems, as well as fear of a negative response from practitioners. Requests to formal agencies are described as either supportive of the woman or challenging the violence. Supportive responses are defined as oriented toward the woman's immediate desires, such as providing a sympathetic listener. Challenging responses are those that confront the violence itself; for example, by advising the woman of her rights and assisting her in obtaining them. Regarding these requests, the medical profession rarely responded in a challenging way. The greater expectation of social workers to answer both challenging and supportive requests is described. The need for practitioners to scrutinize their beliefs, actions, and policies is suggested in order to eliminate those that may support family violence. Finally, the need to adopt the role of advocate for the woman, as early as possible, and to confront the man with his own culpability, are proposed in order to break the violent pattern.
Index Term(s): Abusing spouses; Assault and battery; Battered wives; Counseling; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Social workers
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