Experiences of support and help-seeking: A secondary analysis of interviews with women with disabilities who have experienced intimate partner violence

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Keys, Shannon
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While previous research has explored women’s experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV), their help-seeking experiences and the barriers they encounter when seeking support, little research has explored the perspectives of women with disabilities regarding helpful IPV prevention, intervention and healing strategies. My qualitative research project sought to address two research questions: what have women with disabilities experienced when accessing support (from family, friends, and services) for IPV; and what do women with disabilities say would be helpful in the prevention or intervention of intimate partner violence. I undertook a secondary analysis of six interviews of women with disabilities who had been interviewed as part of a larger research study. My thematic analysis revealed many themes including experiences with sources of support—such as family, friends, counselling, and shelters—and strategies for prevention, including education and awareness; support system; affordable childcare and transportation; and self-care, spirituality, community, and social change. Barriers to support I identified include lack of education and awareness, lack of resources, lack of services, community size and dynamics, and potentially exclusive admission criteria. My intersectional analysis revealed the ways in which women’s social locations—such as their gender, cultural background, socio-economic situation, religion, disability and relationship status—influenced and shaped their help-seeking behaviours and their access to support systems. Several recommendations to address gaps in service provision are provided.
intimate partner violence, relationship abuse, domestic violence, help-seeking, intersectionality, women with disabilitiess, violence prevention, violence intervention, abuse prevention, abuse intervention, disability, support