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Using Longitudinal Data To Understand the Trajectory of Intimate Partner Violence Over Time (From Violence Against Women and Family Violence: Developments in Research, Practice, and Policy, 2004, Bonnie Fisher, ed. -- See NCJ-199701)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2004
11 pages
This analysis of data on the experiences of 278 abused women after they left a domestic violence shelter program focused on the mediational processes by which the advocacy intervention affected reduction in victimization, whether intervention effects continued after 3 years, the antecedents that explain differences in victimization over time, and the antecedents that explain differences in the context of victimization by ex-partners.
Data were obtained from 1989 through 1996. The women were interviewed when they left the shelter, 10 weeks later (post experimental intervention), and at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months later. The 10-week post-shelter intervention involved randomly assigning trained advocates to work one-on-one with women to help them generate and mobilize the community resources they needed. Resources included but were not limited to legal assistance, employment, education, housing, and medical care. Overall, the analyses supported the belief that a community advocacy project that is short-term and based on clients' strengths can set in motion a trajectory of positive change in the lives of women with abusive partners. The advocacy intervention resulted in immediate positive change in women's lives as they obtained needed resources from their communities. Increased access to resources and increased social support resulted in women reporting a better quality of life that included self-determination, psychological well-being, life satisfaction, physical and material well-being, and personal fulfillment. Women without financial resources and social support had a greater risk of abuse between 2 and 3 years after intervention compared with women who were economically better off and who had stronger support systems. Women who received the intervention and/or who intended to leave the relationship decreased their risk of revictimization over time. The women most likely to experience abuse across any time-point were those who intended to stay in the relationship and who did not work with advocates. Women who worked with advocates reduced the risk of repeated violence after the 6-month follow-up time-point even if they remained in relationships with their abusers. More than one-third of the women who ended their relationships continued to experience abuse by an ex-partner. Predictors of such abuse were the length of the relationship before the breakup, his prior threats, his sexual jealousy, his geographical proximity to the woman, and her involvement in a new relationship. Implications of these findings are drawn for researchers and practitioners. 41 references

Date Published: January 1, 2004