The Impact of Children on intimate Partner Abuse Victims' Service Seeking
Stephens, Emily & Melton, Heather C. 2017. The Impact of Children on intimate Partner Abuse Victims' Service Seeking.
Women and Criminal Justice, 27(3): 191-203.
Intimate partner abuse is a major problem. This is especially true when there are
children present. In attempt to stop the cycle of abuse, it is of critical importance
to understand the impact children have on the relationships and the decision-making
process of those involved. This research is part of a larger project examining the
help-seeking behaviors of victims of intimate partner abuse. Face-to-face interviews
were conducted with 26 victims of intimate partner abuse who eventually sought services.
This paper reports on how children affect the decision of their parent to either seek
services while in an abusive situation or to postpone seeking services. This study
focuses on 19 of those respondents with children. Both quantitative and qualitative
data analyses were conducted. This paper utilizes part of the qualitative data relating
to the import of children in the decision-making process. Analysis reveals that for
all respondents, children were important to their decision-making process. Several
themes related to children were identified, including those who identified leaving
the situation and seeking services because of their children and those who postponed
seeking services because of their children. Implications for prevention and intervention
in cases of intimate partner abuse will be discussed.