Risky business: An ecological analysis of intimate partner violence disclosure

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Research on Social Work Practice, 22(3): 301-312

Alaggia, Ramona
Regehr, Cheryl
Jenney, Angelique

Journal article
Canadian CW research

Objective: A multistage, mixed-methods study using grounded theory with descriptive data was conducted to examine factors in disclosure of intimate partner violence (IPV). Method: In-depth interviews with individuals and focus groups were undertaken to collect data from 98 IPV survivors and service providers to identify influential factors. Quantitative data were also collected on adult trauma levels and child concerns from 20 women. Results: An ecological analysis revealed that IPV disclosure occurs within a complex interplay of distinct individual and environmental considerations. Specific system level factors of the ecological framework— ontogenic, micro, exo, and macro—emerged as influencing disclosure and ultimately shaped womens’ disclosure processes. Conclusion: IPV disclosure remains a ‘‘risky business’’ with perceived negative outcomes outweighing benefits. Results reinforce that social work interventions need to occur at all levels of the human ecology in order to provide effective responses.

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