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Changing help-seeking rates for intimate partner violence in Canada



Changing help-seeking rates for intimate partner violence in Canada



Women and Health 41(1): 1-19



The adverse physical and psychological sequelae of intimate partner violence (IPV) are well documented, as are government initiatives in Canada since the early 1990s to address the problem through public awareness campaigns and service enhancement programs. While these initiatives have been designed to encourage abused women to come forward, there has been little research examining changes over time in help-seeking rates among this group. To fill this void, we compared data from two large Canadian population-based, cross-sectional telephone surveys: the 1993 Violence Against Women Survey (1993-VAWS) and the 1999 General Social Survey (1999-GSS). Among women who reported physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous partner, we examined differences in rates of disclosure of abuse, help-seeking by type of service, and barriers to service use. Abused women in the 1999-GSS were significantly more likely than those in the 1993-VAWS to have reported disclosing a violent incident(s) to a family member (66.4% v. 43.9%), friend or neighbor (67.4% v. 45.4%), doctor or nurse (31.9% v. 23.0%), and/or minister, priest, or cleric (11.5% v. 7.3%). The 1999-GSS cohort was also more likely to have presented to a shelter or transition house (11.0% v. 7.8%), a crisis center (17.3% v. 4.2%), a counselor or psychologist (39.1% v. 14.7%), a women's center (11.2% v. 3.4%), and/or a community or family center (15.4% v. 4.7%). Among those women who did not seek help, fewer in the 1999-GSS reported that they did not know of any services (6.4% v. 17.0%), or that services were not available (0.8% v. 14.5%). Although we found a demonstrable increase in the numbers of abused women seeking help, overall, rates of service utilization were still low as late as 1999, highlighting the importance of continued government commitment to funding IPV initiatives.

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Accession: 048491911

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 16048865

DOI: 10.1300/j013v41n01_01


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