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"I Didn’t Want To Put Them Through That": The Influence Of Children on Victim Decision-Making in Intimate Partner Violence Cases

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2010
9 pages
Seven focus groups were conducted with intimate partner violence (IPV) women to assess their experiences with help-seek and to examine the influence of children on victim’s decisionmaking.
For mothers, intimate partner violence (IPV) presents a concern not only for their own well-being but also for that of their children who are exposed to the violence and its aftermath. In focus groups with adult women (N=39) across three jurisdictions who had experienced legal system intervention for IPV victimization, mothers raised unsolicited concerns about the negative effects of IPV exposure on their children. These comments were not prompted by the facilitator but were raised by women in all seven of the focus groups during discussions about motivations and barriers to participation in prosecution of their abusive partners. The overall message was that victims with children felt very conflicted. Children both facilitate and inhibit leaving the abusive relationship. Mothers wanted to spare their children from harmful effects of violence but also wanted to keep their families together and protect their children from potential agitation and instability caused by legal system involvement. Participants described how fears and threats of involvement from child protective services inhibited help-seeking while simultaneously voicing a desire for services that would help their children. More research is needed to help service providers understand the quagmire mothers who are victims of IPV encounter regarding their children’s wellbeing. References (Published Abstract)

Date Published: July 1, 2010