IPV: Reporting, Help Seeking, Treatment
What are the barriers to help-seeking?
According to the class Power Point, there are six barriers to help-seeking. They are:
Lack of awareness: some survivors are not even sure if they experienced abuse. Some don't know what services exist in their communities. Some survivors fall into both categories.
Access Challenges: depending on where the survivor lives, there may not be services in their area. Lack of transportation or a support system to help with children could also be a challenge to getting help.
Consequences of disclosure: survivors worry about what will happen to them if they come forward. They could lose housing, custody of their children, or other things/people that are important to them. A more critical concern is immigration status.
Lack of material resources: survivors worry about how they will take care of themselves and their children (if any). These barriers present themselves as finances, education, housing, and being able to provide. The survivor will stay in a violent situation to hold onto finances and housing and hesitates to leave because they lack education and do not have their own means of providing income, etc.
Personal barriers: these barriers include lack of hope, mental health issues, and cultural beliefs.
System Failures: These include mistrust of the system, law enforcement, government agencies, etc. Marginalization also makes a significant impact on how someone is treated when they come forward for help.
What are survivors' experiences like in the
criminal legal system?
A lot of survivors have had negative experiences with the legal system. The Power Point and lecture video covered mandatory arrests. This statistic was shared: "Mandatory arrests reduce help seeking for over 1/3 of survivors because they worry about legal consequences." Mandatory arrests can increase the risk of retaliation and be disempowering. With mandatory arrests, sometimes the survivor is arrested even though they are the ones who were hurt. There are disparities for women of color who have had more negative experiences with law enforcement which causes them to not seek help from the police.
What interventions (i.e., treatment programming) and services are available to survivors?
There are many interventions available to survivors of IPV. There are shelters for women and their children who need a place to stay. Here they don't only get shelter, but they get help in different areas of their lives, so they can get on their feet. These services are usually individualized based on what the survivor needs. There are outreach services which are for women who do not need shelter. The services are similar to those received by those in shelter.
Survivors also need therapy. According to Arroyo, et al. (2015), both CBT and interpersonal therapy produce high results for women who are survivors of IPV. A lot of shelters have case workers or advocates that help with education, job finding, planning for the future, etc., but the research is showing that therapy is also needed.
What interventions are available for those
who commit IPV?
According to the videos adn the reading, there are many different interventions for those who commit IPV. Mostly there are group programs for those who have a conviction. In these group programs, the men (what we saw in the videos was mostly focused on male offenders) learn tools to help them in future situations. They talk about what they did, and how they can act differently in the future. There are also specialized programs for those in the military who commit IPV and programs that treat both substance abuse and IPV. Research shows that is important to focus on the behaviors of the individual and help them develop new coping mechanisms.
Ultimately, how can we help survivors of IPV?
If you suspect a friend is in an abusive relationship, how should you respond?
Draft a survivor support list including both national and local resources you could provide to someone who is experiencing IPV.
If I have a friend who is in an abusive relationship, first I'm going to reassure her that it is not her fault. I want to let her know that she did not do anything wrong. It would then be important for me to let her know her options. At the end of the day, I need to be aware that it is her decision to leave or to stay; to get help or to not get help. As her friend, I need to let her know what is available to her. I would offer to let her stay with me for the night, so I could show her different options, and she could use the internet without her search history being available to her abuser.
Here is a list of resources I could provide her with:
1. Locally in Huntsville we have SAAFE House. They provide both shelter and outreach services. They have two 24-hour hotlines. The numbers are 936-291-3369 or 936-327-2513.
2. Houston Area Women's Center provides similar services but allows you to get out of town and further away from your abuser. They offer a 24-hour hotline at (713) 528-2121and a live chat on their website: https://hawc.org/services/
3. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides phone, internet chat, and text support to survivors of IPV. They can help my friend find the services she needs and put a plan into place. https://www.thehotline.org/
4. There are many agencies that SAAFE House works with (housing, legal aid, etc.) that would benefit a survivor, so although I know all these are available in the community, I would suggest SAAFE House first. An advocate will help her develop a plan and put her in touch with all the right people.
Reflect on your learning experience
for this module
This was a good module because we were able to see many different sides to the issue of getting help when you are a survivor of IPV. It's interesting to see how the movement started and where it is now going. It is important for those who have committed IPV to get help, so I enjoyed seeing the videos that showed the different ways abusers are receiving education. As one man said in the last video, men are socialized this way. They do not know anything else, and they repeat the cycles. Education is so important.
I like making graphics (I make graphics all the time for my life coach business). I also enjoyed the videos because they are very interesting and show many different viewpoints. There are more reading in this module. Maybe I got spoiled from the other modules, but I realized I like the videos more than the reading (and I'm a reader)