An examination of the ability of mainstream institutions to meet the needs of Aboriginal victims of domestic violence
Stoker, Sandra L.
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Past theory and research in the area of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities have argued that mainstream institutions are not meeting the needs of Aboriginal women because their mandates do not incorporate Aboriginal traditions and philosophies. However, no research has examined if Aboriginal victims of domestic violence are dissatisfied with mainstream institutions because of this cultural inconsideration. This research examined this theoretical question by conducting exploratory research in two communities in northern Manitoba. Two non-probability convenience samples of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal victims of domestic violence were interviewed in person. The variables that were examined were: utilization of mainstream services, satisfaction with mainstream services and the ability of mainstream services to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence. This research found that Aboriginal women had high rates of service utilization and service satisfaction. It further discovered that when mainstream services failed to meet the needs of Aboriginal women it was the result of failure to provide safety and support to the victims and not because of a lack of incorporated Aboriginal values and customs. Furthermore, when the results were compared to a small sample of non-Aboriginal women, no substantial differences could be found. The results of this research failed to support the theoretical argument that mainstream institutions are not meeting the needs of Aboriginal victims of domestic violence because they are not based upon traditional Aboriginal philosophies and customs.