As part of a larger study, this study evaluated legal advocacy for African-American battered women in Detroit and the success of these outreach efforts.
In the current era of more aggressive legal responses to domestic violence, advocates have increased opportunities to reach out to battered women who have had few, if any positive experiences receiving social services. This paper reports on the success of these outreach efforts from the perspective of a group of African-American battered women who were involved in incidents reported to the police in Detroit in 1998. Findings are reported from interviews with 242, primarily African-American, battered women. Advocates were rated as helpful when receiving information, being emotionally supportive, and having advocates readily available and accessible. Less than half of the women who experienced severe violence reported that advocates helped them with safety planning. In addition, there was a low rate of follow-up on referral provided by advocates. In conclusion, the study supports an ecological analysis by showing that when battered women do not receive help from social services, it might be because no one is effectively helping them connect with those services. The study can assist in providing ways to form empowering working alliances with African-American battered women, and in suggesting ways to improve advocacy by increasing training on how to do effective outreach and referrals. References