U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Understanding Domestic Violence in Multi Ethnic Rural Communities: A Focus on Collaborations Among the Courts, the Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Shelters

NCJ Number
Date Published
68 pages
This study examined the experiences of domestic violence of Hispanic and Anglo women recruited at a domestic violence shelter.
The study documented and compared the domestic violence experiences of women living in rural communities, examined the various correlates of the domestic violence, and evaluated the formal services offered to study participants by the local shelter, courts, and law enforcement over a 1-year period. The methodology includes a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and a longitudinal research design. The multi-method approach is helpful in studying a personal, difficult, and stigmatizing public health issue such as domestic violence. It allows for a significant amount of time with study participants to establish trust and rapport. The longitudinal nature of the study helped document the progression and changes in the components and correlates of domestic violence over time and the reasons for those changes. The study documented the domestic violence experiences of and the significant differences in the experiences of a sample of Hispanic and Anglo women. It explored the changes in those experiences over time, indicating a decrease or cessation of violence among those who stayed in the study for the full 12 months. Depression, suicidality, and the use of prescription medications for psychological problems were prevalent among study participants; positive changes in mental health characteristics often occurred approximately 6 months after entering the shelter. The study highlighted the relationship between the abuse women experienced in their intimate relationships and their mental health problems. Help from law enforcement and the shelter appeared to have been important to study participants in coping with the violence. The study provided insights into changes experienced in domestic violence and mental health by a group of predominantly Hispanic women, and the need to address those issues on a long-term basis and in an integrated manner with appropriate and culturally sensitive interventions and social support sources. Tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 2001