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Domestic violence research topics.

The list of domestic violence research paper topics below will show that domestic violence takes on many forms. Through recent scientific study, it is now known that domestic violence occurs within different types of households. The purpose of creating this list is for students to have available a comprehensive, state-of-the-research, easy-to-read compilation of a wide variety of domestic violence topics and provide research paper examples on those topics.

Domestic violence research paper topics can be divided into seven categories:

  • Victims of domestic violence,
  • Theoretical perspectives and correlates to domestic violence,
  • Cross-cultural and religious perspectives,
  • Understudied areas within domestic violence research,
  • Domestic violence and the law,
  • Child abuse and elder abuse, and
  • Special topics in domestic violence.

100+ Domestic Violence Research Topics

Victims of domestic violence.

Initial research recognized wives as victims of domestic violence. Thereafter, it was acknowledged that unmarried women were also falling victim to violence at the hands of their boyfriends. Subsequently, the term ‘‘battered women’’ became synonymous with ‘‘battered wives.’’ Legitimizing female victimization served as the catalyst in introducing other types of intimate partner violence.

  • Battered Husbands
  • Battered Wives
  • Battered Women: Held in Captivity
  • Battered Women Who Kill: An Examination
  • Cohabiting Violence
  • Dating Violence
  • Domestic Violence in Workplace
  • Intimate Partner Homicide
  • Intimate Partner Violence, Forms of
  • Marital Rape
  • Mutual Battering
  • Spousal Prostitution

Read more about victims of domestic violence .

Part 2: Research Paper Topics on

Theoretical Perspectives and Correlates to Domestic Violence

There is no single causal factor related to domestic violence. Rather, scholars have concluded that there are numerous factors that contribute to domestic violence. Feminists found that women were beaten at the hands of their partners. Drawing on feminist theory, they helped explain the relationship between patriarchy and domestic violence. Researchers have examined other theoretical perspectives such as attachment theory, exchange theory, identity theory, the cycle of violence, social learning theory, and victim-blaming theory in explaining domestic violence. However, factors exist that may not fall into a single theoretical perspective. Correlates have shown that certain factors such as pregnancy, social class, level of education, animal abuse, and substance abuse may influence the likelihood for victimization.

  • Animal Abuse: The Link to Family Violence
  • Assessing Risk in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Attachment Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Battered Woman Syndrome
  • Batterer Typology
  • Bullying and the Family
  • Coercive Control
  • Control Balance Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Cycle of Violence
  • Depression and Domestic Violence
  • Education as a Risk Factor for Domestic Violence
  • Exchange Theory
  • Feminist Theory
  • Identity Theory and Domestic Violence
  • Intergenerational Transfer of Intimate Partner Violence
  • Popular Culture and Domestic Violence
  • Post-Incest Syndrome
  • Pregnancy-Related Violence
  • Social Class and Domestic Violence
  • Social Learning Theory and Family Violence
  • Stockholm Syndrome in Battered Women
  • Substance Use/Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence
  • The Impact of Homelessness on Family Violence
  • Victim-Blaming Theory

Read more about domestic violence theories .

Part 3: Research Paper Topics on

Cross-Cultural and Religious Perspectives on Domestic Violence

It was essential to acknowledge that domestic violence crosses cultural boundaries and religious affiliations. There is no one particular society or religious group exempt from victimization. A variety of developed and developing countries were examined in understanding the prevalence of domestic violence within their societies as well as their coping strategies in handling these volatile issues. It is often misunderstood that one religious group is more tolerant of family violence than another. As Christianity, Islam, and Judaism represent the three major religions of the world, their ideologies were explored in relation to the acceptance and prevalence of domestic violence.

  • Africa: Domestic Violence and the Law
  • Africa: The Criminal Justice System and the Problem of Domestic Violence in West Africa
  • Asian Americans and Domestic Violence: Cultural Dimensions
  • Child Abuse: A Global Perspective
  • Christianity and Domestic Violence
  • Cross-Cultural Examination of Domestic Violence in China and Pakistan
  • Cross-Cultural Examination of Domestic Violence in Latin America
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Domestic Violence
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on How to Deal with Batterers
  • Dating Violence among African American Couples
  • Domestic Violence among Native Americans
  • Domestic Violence in African American Community
  • Domestic Violence in Greece
  • Domestic Violence in Rural Communities
  • Domestic Violence in South Africa
  • Domestic Violence in Spain
  • Domestic Violence in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Domestic Violence within the Jewish Community
  • Human Rights, Refugee Laws, and Asylum Protection for People Fleeing Domestic Violence
  • Introduction to Minorities and Families in America
  • Medical Neglect Related to Religion and Culture
  • Multicultural Programs for Domestic Batterers
  • Qur’anic Perspectives on Wife Abuse
  • Religious Attitudes toward Corporal Punishment
  • Rule of Thumb
  • Same-Sex Domestic Violence: Comparing Venezuela and the United States
  • Worldwide Sociolegal Precedents Supporting Domestic Violence from Ancient to Modern Times

Part 4: Research Paper Topics on

Understudied Areas within Domestic Violence Research

Domestic violence has typically examined traditional relationships, such as husband–wife, boyfriend–girlfriend, and parent–child. Consequently, scholars have historically ignored non-traditional relationships. In fact, certain entries have limited cross-references based on the fact that there were limited, if any, scholarly publications on that topic. Only since the 1990s have scholars admitted that violence exists among lesbians and gay males. There are other ignored populations that are addressed within this encyclopedia including violence within military and police families, violence within pseudo-family environments, and violence against women and children with disabilities.

  • Caregiver Violence against People with Disabilities
  • Community Response to Gay and Lesbian Domestic Violence
  • Compassionate Homicide and Spousal Violence
  • Domestic Violence against Women with Disabilities
  • Domestic Violence by Law Enforcement Officers
  • Domestic Violence within Military Families
  • Factors Influencing Reporting Behavior by Male Domestic Violence Victims
  • Gay and Bisexual Male Domestic Violence
  • Gender Socialization and Gay Male Domestic Violence
  • Inmate Mothers: Treatment and Policy Implications
  • Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Retardation
  • Intimate Partner Violence in Queer, Transgender, and Bisexual Communities
  • Lesbian Battering
  • Male Victims of Domestic Violence and Reasons They Stay with Their Abusers
  • Medicalization of Domestic Violence
  • Police Attitudes and Behaviors toward Gay Domestic Violence
  • Pseudo-Family Abuse
  • Sexual Aggression Perpetrated by Females
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: The Need for Education in Servicing Victims of Trauma

Part 5: Research Paper Topics on

Domestic Violence and the Law

The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 helped pave domestic violence concerns into legislative matters. Historically, family violence was handled through informal measures often resulting in mishandling of cases. Through VAWA, victims were given the opportunity to have their cases legally remedied. This legitimized the separation of specialized domestic and family violence courts from criminal courts. The law has recognized that victims of domestic violence deserve recognition and resolution. Law enforcement agencies may be held civilly accountable for their actions in domestic violence incidents. Mandatory arrest policies have been initiated helping reduce discretionary power of police officers. Courts have also begun to focus on the offenders of domestic violence. Currently, there are batterer intervention programs and mediation programs available for offenders within certain jurisdictions. Its goals are to reduce the rate of recidivism among batterers.

  • Battered Woman Syndrome as a Legal Defense in Cases of Spousal Homicide
  • Batterer Intervention Programs
  • Clemency for Battered Women
  • Divorce, Child Custody, and Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Courts
  • Electronic Monitoring of Abusers
  • Expert Testimony in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Judicial Perspectives on Domestic Violence
  • Lautenberg Law
  • Legal Issues for Battered Women
  • Mandatory Arrest Policies
  • Mediation in Domestic Violence
  • Police Civil Liability in Domestic Violence Incidents
  • Police Decision-Making Factors in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Police Response to Domestic Violence Incidents
  • Prosecution of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Protective and Restraining Orders
  • Shelter Movement
  • Training Practices for Law Enforcement in Domestic Violence Cases
  • Violence against Women Act

Read more about Domestic Violence Law .

Part 6: Research Paper Topics on

Child Abuse and Elder Abuse

Scholars began to address child abuse over the last third of the twentieth century. It is now recognized that child abuse falls within a wide spectrum. In the past, it was based on visible bruises and scars. Today, researchers have acknowledged that psychological abuse, where there are no visible injuries, is just as damaging as its counterpart. One of the greatest controversies in child abuse literature is that of Munchausen by Proxy. Some scholars have recognized that it is a syndrome while others would deny a syndrome exists. Regardless of the term ‘‘syndrome,’’ Munchausen by Proxy does exist and needs to be further examined. Another form of violence that needs to be further examined is elder abuse. Elder abuse literature typically focused on abuse perpetrated by children and caregivers. With increased life expectancies, it is now understood that there is greater probability for violence among elderly intimate couples. Shelters and hospitals need to better understand this unique population in order to better serve its victims.

  • Assessing the Risks of Elder Abuse
  • Child Abuse and Juvenile Delinquency
  • Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States: An Overview
  • Child Maltreatment, Interviewing Suspected Victims of
  • Child Neglect
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Children Witnessing Parental Violence
  • Consequences of Elder Abuse
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect: Training Issues for Professionals
  • Elder Abuse by Intimate Partners
  • Elder Abuse Perpetrated by Adult Children
  • Filicide and Children with Disabilities
  • Mothers Who Kill
  • Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
  • Parental Abduction
  • Postpartum Depression, Psychosis, and Infanticide
  • Ritual Abuse–Torture in Families
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Sibling Abuse

Part 7: Research Paper Topics on

Special Topics  in Domestic Violence

Within this list, there are topics that may not fit clearly into one of the aforementioned categories. Therefore, they are be listed in a separate special topics designation. Analyzing Incidents of Domestic Violence: The National Incident-Based Reporting System

  • Community Response to Domestic Violence
  • Conflict Tactics Scales
  • Dissociation in Domestic Violence, The Role of
  • Domestic Homicide in Urban Centers: New York City
  • Fatality Reviews in Cases of Adult Domestic Homicide and Suicide
  • Female Suicide and Domestic Violence
  • Healthcare Professionals’ Roles in Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence
  • Measuring Domestic Violence
  • Neurological and Physiological Impact of Abuse
  • Social, Economic, and Psychological Costs of Violence
  • Stages of Leaving Abusive Relationships
  • The Physical and Psychological Impact of Spousal Abuse

Domestic violence remains a relatively new field of study among social scientists but it is already a popular research paper subject within college and university students. Only within the past 4 decades have scholars recognized domestic violence as a social problem. Initially, domestic violence research focused on child abuse. Thereafter, researchers focused on wife abuse and used this concept interchangeably with domestic violence. Within the past 20 years, researchers have acknowledged that other forms of violent relationships exist, including dating violence, battered males, and gay domestic violence. Moreover, academicians have recognized a subcategory within the field of criminal justice: victimology (the scientific study of victims). Throughout the United States, colleges and universities have been creating victimology courses, and even more specifically, family violence and interpersonal violence courses.

The media have informed us that domestic violence is so commonplace that the public has unfortunately grown accustomed to reading and hearing about husbands killing their wives, mothers killing their children, or parents neglecting their children. While it is understood that these offenses take place, the explanations as to what factors contributed to them remain unclear. In order to prevent future violence, it is imperative to understand its roots. There is no one causal explanation for domestic violence; however, there are numerous factors which may help explain these unjustified acts of violence. Highly publicized cases such as the O.J. Simpson and Scott Peterson trials have shown the world that alleged murderers may not resemble the deranged sociopath depicted in horror films. Rather, they can be handsome, charming, and well-liked by society. In addition, court-centered programming on television continuously publicizes cases of violence within the home informing the public that we are potentially at risk by our caregivers and other loved ones. There is the case of the au pair Elizabeth Woodward convicted of shaking and killing Matthew Eappen, the child entrusted to her care. Some of the most highly publicized cases have also focused on mothers who kill. America was stunned as it heard the cases of Susan Smith and Andrea Yates. Both women were convicted of brutally killing their own children. Many asked how loving mothers could turn into cold-blooded killers.

Browse other criminal justice research topics .

153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples

A domestic violence essay can deal with society, gender, family, and youth. To help you decide which aspect to research, our team provided this list of 153 topics .

📑 Aspects to Cover in a Domestic Violence Essay

🏆 best domestic violence titles & essay examples, ⭐ interesting domestic violence topics for an essay, 🎓 good research topics about domestic violence, ❓ research questions on domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a significant problem and one of the acute topics of today’s society. It affects people of all genders and sexualities.

Domestic violence involves many types of abuse, including sexual and emotional one. Essays on domestic violence can enhance students’ awareness of the issue and its causes. Our tips will be useful for those wanting to write outstanding domestic violence essays.

Start with choosing a topic for your paper. Here are some examples of domestic violence essay titles:

  • Causes of domestic violence and the ways to eliminate them
  • The consequences of domestic violence
  • The importance of public domestic violence speech
  • Ways to reduce domestic violence
  • The prevalence of domestic violence in the United States (or other countries)
  • The link between domestic violence and mental health problems among children

Now that you have selected one of the titles for your essay, you can start working on the paper. We have prepared some tips on the aspects you should cover in your work:

  • Start with researching the issue you have selected. Analyze its causes, consequences, and effects. Remember that you should include some of the findings in the paper using in-text citations.
  • Develop a domestic violence essay outline. The structure of your paper will depend on the problem you have selected. In general, there should be an introductory and a concluding paragraph, as well as three (or more) body paragraphs. Hint: Keep in mind the purpose of your essay while developing its structure.
  • Present your domestic violence essay thesis clearly. The last sentence of your introductory paragraph should be the thesis statement. Here are some examples of a thesis statement:

Domestic violence has a crucial impact on children’s mental health. / Domestic violence affects women more than men.

  • Present a definition of domestic violence. What actions does the term involve? Include several possible perspectives on domestic violence.
  • Discuss the victims of domestic violence and the impact it has on them too. Provide statistical data, if possible.
  • Help your audience to understand the issue better by discussing the consequences of domestic violence, even if it is not the primary purpose of your paper. The essay should show why it is necessary to eliminate this problem.
  • You can include some relevant quotes on domestic violence to make your arguments more persuasive. Remember to use citations from relevant sources only. Such sources include peer-reviewed articles and scholarly publications. If you are not sure whether you can use a piece of literature, consult your professor to avoid possible mistakes.
  • Support your claims with evidence. Ask your professor in advance about the sources you can use in your paper. Avoid utilizing Wikipedia, as this website is not reliable.
  • Stick to a formal language. Although you may want to criticize domestic violence, do not use offensive terms. Your paper should look professional.
  • Pay attention to the type of paper you should write. If it is an argumentative essay, discuss opposing views on domestic violence and prove that they are unreliable.
  • Remember that you should include a domestic violence essay conclusion in your paper too. This section of the paper should present your main ideas and findings. Remember not to present any new information or citations in the concluding paragraph.

There are some free samples we have prepared for you, too. Check them out!

  • Domestic Violence and Conflict Theory in Society The Conflict Theory explains remarkable events in history and the changing patterns of race and gender relations and also emphasizes the struggles to explain the impact of technological development on society and the changes to […]
  • Break the Silence: Domestic Violence Case The campaign in question aimed to instruct victims of domestic violence on how to cope with the problem and where to address to get assistance.
  • Domestic Violence against Women Domestic violence against women refers to “any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, and mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts as […]
  • Social Marketing Campaign on Domestic Violence In this marketing campaign strategy the focus would be centered on violence against women, as a form of domestic violence that is currently experience in many countries across the globe.
  • Intersectionality in Domestic Violence Another way an organization that serves racial minorities may address the unique needs of domestic violence victims is to offer additional educational and consultancy activities for women of color.
  • Victimology and Domestic Violence In this situation there are many victims; Anne is a victim of domestic violence and the children are also victims of the same as well as the tragic death of their father.
  • Domestic Violence: Reason, Forms and Measures The main aim of this paper is to determine the reason behind the rapid increase of domestic violence, forms of domestic violence and measures that should be taken to reduce its effects.
  • Supporting Female Victims of Domestic Violence and Abuse: NGO Establishment The presence of such a model continues to transform lives and make it easier for more women to support and provide basic education to their children.
  • Domestic Violence and Honor Killing Analysis Justice and gender equality are important aspects of the totality of mankind that measure social and economic development in the world. The cultural justification is to maintain the dignity and seniority framework of the family.
  • Annotated Bibliography on Domestic Violence Against Women They evaluate 134 studies from various countries that provide enough evidence of the prevalence of domestic violence against women and the adverse effects the vice has had for a decade.
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence In addition, NCADV hopes to make the public know that the symbol of the purple ribbon represents the mission of the organization, which is to bring peace to all American households.
  • Effects of Domestic Violence on Children’s Social and Emotional Development In the case of wife-husband violence, always, one parent will be the offender and the other one the victim; in an ideal situation, a child needs the love of a both parents. When brought up […]
  • Behind Closed Doors: Domestic Violence The term “domestic violence” is used to denote the physical or emotional abuse that occurs in the homes. Therefore, it has contributed to the spread of domestic violence in the country.
  • Guilty until Proven Otherwise: Domestic Violence Cases The presumption of the guilt of a man in domestic violence cases is further proven by the decision of the court in which the man is required to post a bond despite the fact that […]
  • Affordable, Effective Legal Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence Legal assistance significantly increases the chances for domestic abuse victims to obtain restraining orders, divorce, and custody of their children. Helping victims of domestic violence with inexpensive legal aid is a critical step in assisting […]
  • Domestic Violence: Far-Right Conspiracy Theory in Australia’s Culture Wars The phenomenon of violence is directly related to the violation of human rights and requires legal punishment for the perpetrators and support for the victims.
  • Domestic Violence and Black Women’s Experiences Overall, the story’s exploration of the reality of life for an African American married woman in a patriarchal society, and the challenges faced by black women, is relevant to the broader reality of domestic violence […]
  • Domestic Violence: Criminal Justice In addition, the usage of illegal substances such as bhang, cocaine, and other drugs contributes to the increasing DV in society.
  • Witnessed Domestic Violence and Juvenile Detention Research The primary purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between witnessed domestic violence and juvenile detention. Research has pointed to a relationship between witnessed violence and juvenile delinquency, and this study holds that […]
  • Domestic Violence Against Women in Melbourne Thus, it is possible to introduce the hypothesis that unemployment and related financial struggles determined by pandemic restrictions lead to increased rates of domestic violence against women in Melbourne.
  • Domestic Violence Ethical Dilemmas in Criminal Justice Various ethical issues such as the code of silence, the mental status of the offender, and limited evidence play a vital role in challenging the discretion of police officers in arresting the DV perpetrators.
  • Healthcare Testing of a Domestic Violence Victim Accordingly, the negative aspects of this exam include difficulties in identifying and predicting the further outcome of events and the course of side effects.
  • Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, or Elder Abuse In every health facility, a nurse who notices the signs of abuse and domestic violence must report them to the relevant authorities.
  • Educational Services for Children in Domestic Violence Shelters In order to meet the objectives of the research, Chanmugam et al.needed to reach out to the representatives of emergency domestic violence shelters located in the state of Texas well-aware of the shelters’ and schools’ […]
  • The Domestic Violence Arrest Laws According to the National Institute of Justice, mandatory arrest laws are the most prevalent in US states, indicating a widespread agreement on their effectiveness.
  • Environmental Scan for Hart City Domestic Violence Resource Center In particular, it identifies the target population, outlines the key resources, and provides an overview of data sources for assessing key factors and trends that may affect the Resource Center in the future.
  • Domestic Violence Investigation Procedure If they claim guilty, the case is proceeded to the hearing to estimate the sentencing based on the defendant’s criminal record and the scope of assault. The issue of domestic abuse in households is terrifyingly […]
  • Educational Group Session on Domestic Violence This will be the first counseling activity where the counselor assists the women to appreciate the concepts of domestic violence and the ways of identifying the various kinds of violence.
  • What Causes Domestic Violence? Domestic abuse, which is also known as domestic violence, is a dominance of one family member over another or the other. As a result, the probability of them becoming abusers later in life is considerably […]
  • Domestic Violence and COVID-19: Literature Review The “stay safe, stay at home” mantra used by the governments and public health organizations was the opposite of safety for the victims of domestic violence.
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence in the US Anurudran et al.argue that the new measures taken to fight COVID-19 infections heightened the risk of domestic abuse. The pandemic paradox: The consequences of COVID 19 on domestic violence.
  • Rachel Louise Snyder’s Research on Domestic Violence Language and framing play a significant role in manipulating people’s understanding of domestic violence and the nature of the problem. However, it is challenging to gather precise data on the affected people and keep track […]
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: Renewals and Legal Recourse Since upon the expiry of a restraining order, a victim can file a renewal petition the current task is to determine whether the original DVRO of our client has expired, the burden of obtaining a […]
  • Alcoholism, Domestic Violence and Drug Abuse Kaur and Ajinkya researched to investigate the “psychological impact of adult alcoholism on spouses and children”. The work of Kaur and Ajinkya, reveals a link between chronic alcoholism and emotional problems on the spouse and […]
  • Domestic Violence Counselling Program Evaluation The evaluation will be based upon the mission of the program and the objectives it states for the participants. The counselors arrange treatment for both sides of the conflict: the victims and offenders, and special […]
  • Sociological Imagination: Domestic Violence and Suicide Risk Hence, considering these facts, it is necessary to put the notion of suicide risk in perspective when related to the issue of domestic violence.
  • The Roles of Domestic Violence Advocates Domestic conflict advocates assist victims in getting the help needed to cope and move forward. Moreover, these advocates help the survivors in communicating to employers, family members, and lawyers.
  • Ambivalence on Part of the Police in Response to Domestic Violence The police have been accused of ambivalence by their dismissive attitudes and through sexism and empathy towards perpetrators of violence against women.
  • Domestic Violence: The Impact of Law Enforcement Home Visits As the study concludes, despite the increase in general awareness concerning domestic violence cases, it is still a significant threat to the victims and their children.
  • Domestic Violence: How Is It Adressed? At this stage, when the family members of the battered women do this to them, it becomes the responsibility of the people to do something about this.
  • Domestic Violence: Qualitative & Quantitative Research This research seeks to determine the impacts of domestic violence orders in reducing the escalating cases of family brutality in most households. N1: There is a significant relationship between domestic violence orders and the occurrence […]
  • Domestic Violence Factors Among Police Officers The objective of this research is to establish the level of domestic violence among police officers and relative the behavior to stress, divorce, police subculture, and child mistreatment.
  • “The Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment” by Sherman and Berk The experiment conducted by the authors throws light on the three stages of the research circle. This is one of the arguments that can be advanced.
  • Domestic Violence and Drug-Related Offenders in Australia The article is very informative since outlines a couple of the reasons behind the rampant increase in cases of negligence and lack of concern, especially from the government.
  • An Investigation on Domestic Violence This particular experiment aimed to evaluate the nature of relationship and the magnitude of domestic violence meted on either of the partners.
  • Educational Program on Domestic Violence The reason why I have chosen this as the topic for my educational program is that victims of domestic violence often feel that they do not have any rights and hence are compelled to live […]
  • Family and Domestic Violence: Enhancing Protective Factors Current partner Previous partner Percentage of children When children are exposed to violence, they encounter numerous difficulties in their various levels of development.
  • Domestic Violence in Women’s Experiences Worldwide Despite the fact the author of the article discusses a controversial problem of domestic violence against women based on the data from recent researches and focusing on such causes for violence as the problematic economic […]
  • Parenting in Battered Women: The Effects of Domestic Violence In this study, ‘Parenting in Battered Women: The Effects of Domestic Violence on Women and their Children,’ Alytia A. It is commendable that at this stage in stating the problem the journalists seek to conclude […]
  • Domestic Violence Types and Causes This is acknowledged by the law in most countries of the world as one of the most brutal symbols of inequality.
  • Alcohol and Domestic Violence in Day-To-Day Social Life My paper will have a comprehensive literature review that will seek to analyze the above topic in order to assist the reader understand the alcohol contributions in the domestic and social violence in our society.
  • Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America The abusive spouse wants to feel powerful and in control of the family so he, usually the abusive spouse is the man, beats his wife and children to assert his superiority.
  • Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Purpose of the study: The safety promoting behavior of the abused women is to be increased using a telephone intervention. They were allocated to either of the groups by virtue of the week of enrolment […]
  • Federal and State Legislative Action on Domestic Violence In 2004, the state of New York decided to look into some of the ways of preventing this form of domestic violence by forming an Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in 2005, employers […]
  • Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence: Comprehensive Discussion Substance abuse refers to the misuse of a drug or any other chemical resulting in its dependence, leading to harmful mental and physical effects to the individual and the wellbeing of the society.
  • Environmental Trends and Conditions: Domestic Violence in the Workplace Despite the fact that on average the literacy rate and the rate of civilization in the world have been increasing in the past few decades, the statistics for domestic violence have been increasing on an […]
  • Domestic Violence in the Organizations Despite the fact that on average the literacy rate and the rate of civilization in the world has been increasing in the past few decades, the statistics for domestic violence have been increasing on an […]
  • Facts About Domestic Violence All aspects of the society – which starts from the smallest unit, that is the family, to the church and even to the government sectors are all keen on finding solutions on how to eliminate, […]
  • Domestic Violence in Marriage and Family While there are enormous reports of intimate partner homicides, murders, rapes, and assaults, it is important to note that victims of all this violence find it very difficult to explain the matter and incidents to […]
  • Domestic Violence and Repeat Victimisation Theory Domestic violence is a crime which often happens because of a bad relationship between a man and woman and usually continues to be repeated until one of the parties leaves the relationship; hence victims of […]
  • One-Group Posttest-Only Design in the Context of Domestic Violence Problem This application must unveil the risks and their solutions by researching the variables and the threats to the validity of the research.
  • Help-Seeking Amongst Women Survivors of Domestic Violence First, the article explains the necessity of the research conduction, which includes the relevance of the abuse problem and the drawbacks of solving and studying it.
  • Domestic Violence as a Social Issue It is one of the main factors which stimulate the study’s conduction, and among the rest, one can also mention the number of unexplored violence questions yet to be answered.
  • Reflections on Domestic Violence in the Case of Dr. Mile Crawford Nevertheless, the only way out of this situation is to escape and seek help from the legal system. From a personal standpoint, to help her would be the right thing to do.
  • Gender Studies: Combating Domestic Violence The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of domestic violence, as well as the development of an action plan that can help in this situation.
  • Addressing Domestic Violence in the US: A Scientific Approach The implementation of sound research can help in addressing the problem and decreasing the incidence of domestic violence, which will contribute to the development of American society.
  • Domestic Violence Funding and Impact on Society The number of domestic violence cases in the US, both reported and unreported, is significant. The recent decision of Trump’s administration to reduce the expenses for domestic violence victims from $480,000,000 to $40,000,000 in the […]
  • Millennium Development Goals and Domestic Violence: A Bilateral Link As a result, a review of the potential of MDGs for resolving the issue needs to analyze the contribution of the goals to the resolution of the instances, consequences, and causes of DV.
  • Campaign against Domestic Violence: Program Plan In addition, men who used to witness aggressive behavior at home or in the family as children, or learned about it from stories, are two times more disposed to practice violence against their partners than […]
  • Domestic Violence and Bullying in Schools It also states the major variables related to bullying in schools. They will confirm that social-economic status, gender, and race can contribute to bullying in schools.
  • Domestic Violence Within the US Military In most of the recorded domestic violence cases, females are mostly the victims of the dispute while the males are the aggressors of the violence.
  • Domestic Violence and Family Dynamics: A Dual Perspective There are different types and causes of domestic violence, but the desire to take control over relationships is the most common cause.
  • Reporting Decisions in Child Maltreatment: A Mixed Methodology Approach The present research aims to address both the general population and social workers to examine the overall attitudes to the reporting of child maltreatment.
  • Domestic Violence in Australia: Budget Allocation and Victim Support On the other hand, the allocation of financial resources with the focus on awareness campaigns has also led to a lack of financial support for centres that provide the frontline services to victims of domestic […]
  • Domestic and Family Violence: Case Studies and Impacts This paper highlights some of the recent cases of the violence, the forms of abuse involved, and their overall impacts on the victims.
  • Family and Domestic Violence Legislation in the US In fact, this law is a landmark pointing to the recognition of the concept of domestic violence at the legal level and acknowledging that it is a key problem of the society.
  • Domestic Violence and Social Interventions In conclusion, social learning theory supports the idea that children have a high likelihood of learning and simulating domestic violence through experiences at home.
  • Legal Recourse for Victims of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Victims of child abuse and domestic violence have the right to seek legal recourse in case of violation of their rights.
  • Domestic Violence and Child’s Brain Development The video “First Impressions: Exposure to Violence and a Child’s Developing Brain” answers some questions of the dependence of exposure to domestic violence and the development of brain structures of children. At the beginning of […]
  • Local Domestic Violence Victim Resources in Kent The focus of this paper is to document the local domestic violence victim resources found within a community in Kent County, Delaware, and also to discuss the importance of these resources to the community.
  • The Impact of Domestic Violence Laws: Social Norms and Legal Consequences I also suppose that some of these people may start lifting their voices against the law, paying particular attention to the idea that it is theoretically allowable that the law can punish people for other […]
  • Domestic Violence Abuse: Laws in Maryland The Peace and Protective Orders-Burden of Proof regulation in Maryland and the Violence against Women Act are some of the laws that have been created to deal with domestic violence.
  • Theories of Domestic Violence It is important to point out that women have received the short end of the stick in regards to domestic violence. A third reason why people commit domestic violence according to the Family Violence Theory […]
  • Domestic Violence in Australia: Policy Issue In this paper, DV in Australia will be regarded as a problem that requires policy decision-making, and the related terminology and theory will be used to gain insights into the reasons for the persistence of […]
  • Nondiscriminatory Education Against Domestic Violence The recent event that prompted the proposed advocacy is the criticism of a banner that depicts a man as the victim of abuse.
  • Domestic Violence in International Criminal Justice The United Nations organization is deeply concerned with the high level of violence experienced by women in the family, the number of women killed, and the latency of sexual violence.
  • Project Reset and the Domestic Violence Court The majority of the decisions in courts are aimed to mitigate the effects of the strict criminal justice system of the United States.
  • Same-Sex Domestic Violence Problem Domestic violence in gay or lesbian relationships is a serious matter since the rates of domestic violence in such relationships are almost equivalent to domestic violence in heterosexual relationships. There are a number of misconceptions […]
  • Domestic, Dating and Sexual Violence Dating violence is the sexual or physical violence in a relationship which includes verbal and emotional violence. The rate of sexual violence in other nations like Japan and Ethiopia, range from 15 to 71 percent.
  • Anger Management Counseling and Treatment of Domestic Violence by the Capital Area Michigan Works These aspects include: the problem that the program intends to solve, the results produced by the program, the activities of the program, and the resources that are used to achieve the overall goal.
  • Understanding Women’s Responses to Domestic Violence The author’s research orientation is a mix of interpretive, positivism and critical science – interpretive in informing social workers or practitioners on how to enhance their effectiveness as they deal with cases related to violence […]
  • Poverty and Domestic Violence It is based on this that in the next section, I have utilized my educational experience in order to create a method to address the issue of domestic violence from the perspective of a social […]
  • Teenage Dating and Domestic Violence That is why it is important to report about the violence to the police and support groups in order to be safe and start a new life.
  • Evaluation of the Partnership Against Domestic Violence According to the official mission statement of the organization, PADV is aimed at improving the overall wellbeing of families all over the world and helping those that suffer from domestic violence The organization’s primary goal […]
  • Cross-Cultural Aspects of Domestic Violence This is one of the limitations that should be taken account. This is one of the problems that should not be overlooked.
  • Domestic Violence in the Lives of Women She gives particular focus on the social and traditional aspects of the community that heavily contribute to the eruption and sustenance of violence against women in households. In the part 1 of the book, Renzetti […]
  • Financial Planning and Management for Domestic Violence Victims Acquisition of resources used in criminal justice require financial resources hence the need to manage the same so as to provide the best machines and equipments.
  • Violence against Women: Domestic, National, and Global Rape as a weapon for the enemy Majority of cultures in war zones still accept and regard rape to be a weapon of war that an enemy should be punished with.
  • Effects of Domestic Violence on Children Development In cases where children are exposed to such violence, then they become emotionally troubled: In the above, case them the dependent variable is children emotions while the independent variable is domestic violence: Emotions = f […]
  • Evaluation of Anger Management Counseling and Treatment of Domestic Violence by the Capital Area Michigan Works These aspects include: the problem that the program intends to solve, the results produced by the program, the activities of the program, and the resources that are used to achieve the overall goal.
  • Knowledge and Attitudes of Nurses Regarding Domestic Violence and Their Effect on the Identification of Battered Women In conducting this research, the authors sought the consent of the prospective participants where the purpose of the study was explained to participants and confidentiality of information to be collected was reassured.
  • Domestic Violence Dangers Mount With Economic, Seasonal Pressures These variables are believed to be able to prompt the family to explore the experiences and meanings of stress and stress management.
  • Impact of the Economic Status on Domestic Violence This article investigates the possible factors that may help in explaining the status of women who are homeless and their capacity to experience domestic violence.
  • Dominance and “Power Plays” in Relationships to Assist Clients to Leave Domestic Violence According to psychologists, the problem of domestic violence is based on the fact that one partner needs to be in control of the other.
  • Art Therapy With Women Who Have Suffered Domestic Violence One of the most significant benefits of art therapy is the fact the patients get to understand and interpret their own situations which puts them in a better position to creatively participate in own healing […]
  • Collaborative Crisis Intervention at a Domestic Violence Shelter The first visit is meant to collect the information that the professional in domestic violence deem crucial concerning the precipitating incidence and history of violence.
  • Domestic Violence Exposure in Colombian Adolescents In this topic, the authors intend to discover the extent of association of drug abuse to domestic violence exposure, violent and prosocial behavior among adolescents.
  • Domestic Violence and Its Classification Sexual abuse is the other common form of maltreatment which is on the rise and refers to any circumstance in which force is utilized to get involvement in undesired intimate action. Emotional maltreatment entails inconsistent […]
  • Domestic Violence and Social Initiatives in Solving the Problem The absence of the correct social programs at schools and the lack of desire of government and police to pay more attention to the prevention of the problem while it is not too late are […]
  • Domestic Violence in the African American Community Previous research has suggested this due to the many causes and effects that are experienced by the members and especially the male members of the African American community.
  • Domestic Violence: Predicting and Solutions There are several factors which predict the state of domestic violence in the future and this will help in preventing domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence: Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships The unprecedented rejuvenation of such a vile act, prompted the formation of factions within society, that are sensitive to the plight of women, and fight for the cognizance of their rights in society.
  • Domestic Violence against South Asian Women Again, this strategy is premised on the idea that domestic violence can be explained by the financial dependence of women in these communities.
  • The Effects of Domestic Violence According to statistics and research provided in the handout, women are at a higher risk of being victims of domestic violence.
  • Effect of Domestic Violence on Children This is done with the aim of ensuring that the child is disciplined and is meant as a legitimate punishment. Most of our children have been neglected and this has contributed to the increase in […]
  • Domestic Violence and Elderly Abuse- A Policy Statement Though this figure has been changing with the change in the method of survey that was conducted and the nature of samples that were taken during the research process, it is widely accepted fact that […]
  • Domestic Violence as a Social and Public Health Problem The article, authored by Lisa Simpson Strange, discusses the extent of domestic violence especially in women and the dangers it exposes the victims to, insisting that severe actions should be taken against those who commit […]
  • Community and Domestic Violence: Elder Abuse In addition, the fact the elderly people cannot defend themselves because of the physical frailty that they encounter, they will experience most of the elderly abuse.
  • Community and Domestic Violence; Gang Violence Solitude, peer pressure, need to belong, esteem, and the excitement of the odds of arrest entice adolescents to join these youth gangs.
  • Fighting Domestic Violence in Pocatello, Idaho Having realized the need to involve the family unit in dealing with this vice, Walmart has organized a sensitization program that will involve the education of whole family to increase awareness on the issue. The […]
  • What Is the Purpose of Studying Domestic Violence?
  • What Does Theory Explain Domestic Violence?
  • What Is the Difference Between IPV and Domestic Violence?
  • What Age Group Does Domestic Violence Affect Most?
  • When Domestic Violence Becomes the Norm?
  • How Are Domestic Violence Problems Solved in American and Other Cultures?
  • What Are the 3 Phases in the Domestic Violence Cycle?
  • How Can Domestic Violence Be Explained?
  • How Many Deaths Are Caused by Domestic Violence?
  • When Was Domestic Violence First Defined?
  • How Is a Domestic Violence Prevention?
  • How Race, Class, and Gender Influences Domestic Violence?
  • Why Do Victims of Abuse Sometimes Stay Silent?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Brain?
  • Is Mental Illness Often Associated With Domestic Violence?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Affect a Person Emotionally?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Affect Children’s Cognitive Development?
  • Why Should Employers Pay Attention to Domestic Violence?
  • What Are the Causes of Domestic Violence?
  • What Country Has the Highest Rate of Domestic Violence?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Lives of Its Victims?
  • What Are the Possible Causes and Signs of Domestic Violence?
  • How Does Socioeconomic Status Affect Domestic Violence?
  • How Does the Australian Criminal Justice System Respond to Domestic Violence?
  • How Does Culture Affect Domestic Violence in the UK?
  • What Is the Psychology of an Abuser?
  • What Is Police Doing About Domestic Violence?
  • How Does the Government Define Domestic Violence?
  • What Profession Has the Highest Rate of Domestic Violence?
  • What Percent of Domestic Violence Is Alcohol-Related?
  • Family Relationships Research Ideas
  • Alcohol Abuse Paper Topics
  • Drug Abuse Research Topics
  • Child Welfare Essay Ideas
  • Childhood Essay Topics
  • Sexual Abuse Essay Titles
  • Divorce Research Ideas
  • Gender Stereotypes Essay Titles
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IvyPanda. (2024, February 26). 153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/domestic-violence-essay-examples/

"153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples." IvyPanda , 26 Feb. 2024, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/domestic-violence-essay-examples/.

IvyPanda . (2024) '153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples'. 26 February.

IvyPanda . 2024. "153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples." February 26, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/domestic-violence-essay-examples/.

1. IvyPanda . "153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples." February 26, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/domestic-violence-essay-examples/.


IvyPanda . "153 Domestic Violence Topics & Essay Examples." February 26, 2024. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/domestic-violence-essay-examples/.


SAFETY ALERT:  If you are in danger, please use a safer computer and consider calling 911. The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 / TTY 1-800-787-3224 or the StrongHearts Native Helpline at 1−844-762-8483 (call or text) are available to assist you.

Please review these safety tips .


Research & Evidence

Arial view of wavy shelves filled with books, as if in a library.

NRCDV works to strengthen researcher/practitioner collaborations that advance the field’s knowledge of, access to, and input in research that informs policy and practice at all levels. We also identify and develop guidance and tools to help domestic violence programs and coalitions better evaluate their work, including by using participatory action research approaches that directly tap the diverse expertise of a community to frame and guide evaluation efforts.

Safety & Privacy in a Digital World

Safety & Privacy in a Digital World

the Needs of Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence

Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence  

Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence

Housing and Domestic Violence

Housing and Domestic Violence

Preventing and Responding to Domestic Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ) Communities

Domestic Violence in LGBTQ Communities

Serving Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Trans and Non-Binary Survivors

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The Difference Between Surviving & Not Surviving

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Earned Income Tax Credit & Other Tax Credits

VAWnet library resources

For an extensive list of research & evidence materials check out the research & statistics section on VAWnet

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The Domestic Violence Evidence Project (DVEP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year and highly collaborative effort designed to assist state coalitions, local domestic violence programs, researchers, and other allied individuals and organizations better respond to the growing emphasis on identifying and integrating evidence-based practice into their work. DVEP brings together research, evaluation, practice and theory to inform critical thinking and enhance the field's knowledge to better serve survivors and their families.

Community Based Participatory Research Toolkit logo

The Community Based Participatory Research Toolkit  (CBPR) is for researchers and practitioners across disciplines and social locations who are working in academic, policy, community, or practice-based settings. In particular, the toolkit provides support to emerging researchers as they consider whether and how to take a CBPR approach and what it might mean in the context of their professional roles and settings. Domestic violence advocates will also find useful information on the CBPR approach and how it can help answer important questions about your work.

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For over two decades, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence has operated  VAWnet , an online library focused on violence against women and other forms of gender-based violence.  VAWnet.org  has long been identified as an unparalleled, comprehensive, go-to source of information and resources for anti-violence advocates, human service professionals, educators, faith leaders, and others interested in ending domestic and sexual violence.

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Safe Housing Partnerships , the website of the Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium , includes the latest research and evidence on the intersection of domestic and sexual violence, housing, and homelessness. You can also find new research exploring different aspects of efforts to expand housing options for domestic and sexual violence survivors, including the use of flexible funding approaches, DV Housing First and rapid rehousing, DV Transitional Housing, and mobile advocacy.


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  • What is DV?

Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence

  • What is domestic violence?
  • What are resources available for victims?
  • Why do victims sometimes return to or stay with abusers?
  • Do abusers show any potential warning signs?
  • Is it possible for abusers to change?
  • Are men victims of domestic violence?
  • Do LGBTQ people experience domestic violence?
  • How does the economy affect domestic violence?
  • What can I do to help?

1. What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse (using money and financial tools to exert control). Some abusers are able to exert complete control over a victim’s every action without ever using violence or only using subtle threats of violence. All types of abuse are devastating to victims.

Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

High-profile cases of domestic violence will attract headlines, but thousands of people experience domestic abuse every day. They come from all walks of life. In our annual Domestic Violence Counts Report , the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) finds that U.S. domestic violence shelters and programs serve thousands of victims and answer thousands of crisis hotline calls, chats, texts, and emails every day of the year.

Abusive partners make it very difficult for victims to escape relationships. Sadly, many survivors suffer from abuse for decades.

It is important for survivors to know that the abuse is not their fault, and that they are not alone. Help is available to those who are experiencing domestic violence.

2. What are resources available for victims?

Survivors have many options, from obtaining a protection order to staying in a shelter, exploring options through support group, or making an anonymous call to a local domestic violence shelter or national hotline. There is hope for victims, and they are not alone.

There are hundreds of local shelters across the United States that provide safety, counseling, legal help, and other resources for victims and their children.

Information and support are available for victims of abuse and their friends and family:

  • If you are in danger, call a local hotline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or, if it is safe to do so, 911.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential and anonymous support 24/7. Reach out by phone at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
  • Loveisrespect provides teens and young adults confidential and anonymous support. Reach out by phone 1-866-331-9474 and TTY 1-866-331-8453.
  • WomensLaw.org provides legal information and resources for victims. Reach out by email through the WomensLaw Email Hotline in English and Spanish.
  • Technology can be used by victims to increase safety and privacy; it can also be misused by perpetrators to harass, abuse, or harm victims. Find information, including resources and toolkits, related to technology safety at TechSafety.org .
  • Financial abuse is widespread. Learn more about rebuilding from financial abuse from The Moving Ahead Curriculum , created in partnership with The Allstate Foundation .
  • Find state-specific legal information on WomensLaw.org related to custody, protection orders, divorce, immigration, and more.

TIP: Before using online resources, know that your computer or phone may not be safe. Some abusive partners misuse technology to stalk and track a partner’s activities on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. (Learn more at TechSafety.org .)

3. Why do victims sometimes return to or stay with abusers?

The question is not “ Why doesn’t the victim just leave?” The better question is “ Why does the abuser choose to abuse? ”

The deck is stacked against victims as they navigate safety:

  • Abusive partners work very hard to keep victims trapped in the relationship. They may try to isolate the victim from friends and family, thereby reducing the people and places where the survivor can go for support. Through various tactics of financial abuse , abusive partners create financial barriers to safety.
  • There is a real fear of death or more abuse if they leave, as abusers may perceive this act of independence as a threat to the power and control they’ve worked to gain, and they may choose to escalate the violence in response. On average, three women die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner every day.
  • Through “gaslighting,” abusive partners cause victims to feel like they are responsible for the abuse. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that abusers use to confuse and shift blame onto the victim. This often causes the victim to doubt their sanity and feel like they are responsible for the abuse and therefore able to stop it.
  • Abuse takes an emotional and physical toll over time, which can translate to additional health issues that make leaving more difficult.
  • Survivors often report that they want the abuse to end, not the relationship. A survivor may stay with or return to an abusive partner because they believe the abuser’s promises to change.

4. Do abusers show any potential warning signs?

There is no way to spot an abuser in a crowd, but most abusers share some common characteristics. Some of the subtle warning signs include:

  • They insist on moving quickly into a relationship.
  • They can be very charming and may seem “too good to be true.”
  • They insist that you stop participating in your preferred leisure activities or spending time with family and friends.
  • They are extremely jealous or controlling.
  • They do not take responsibility for their actions and blame others for everything that goes wrong.
  • They criticize their partner’s appearance and make frequent put-downs.
  • Their words and actions don’t match.

It’s important to remember that domestic violence is first and foremost a pattern of power and control. Any one of these behaviors may not be indicative of abuse on its own, until it is considered as part of a pattern of behavior.

5. Is it possible for abusers to change?

Yes, but they must first make the choice to change their behavior. It’s not easy for an abusive partner to stop choosing abusive behavior, and it requires a serious commitment to change. Once an abuser has had all of the power in a relationship, it’s difficult to transition to a healthy relationship where each partner has equal respect and power.

Sometimes an abusive partner stops one form of the abuse – for example, the physical violence – but continues to employ other forms of abuse – such as emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It is important to remember that domestic violence includes one or more forms of abuse and is a part of an overall pattern of seeking power and control over the victim.

6. Are men victims of domestic violence?

Yes, men can be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

According to data collected from 2003 to 2012, 82 percent of domestic, dating, and sexual violence was committed against women, and 18 percent against men [1]. A 2012 study found that about 4 in 5 victims of domestic, dating, and sexual violence between 1994 and 2010 were women [2].

Pervasive stereotypes that men are always the abuser and women are always the victim discriminates against survivors who are men and discourages them from coming forward with their stories. Survivors of domestic violence who are men are less likely to seek help or report abuse. Many are unaware of services for men, and there is a common misconception that domestic violence programs only serve women.

When we talk about domestic violence, we’re not talking about men versus women or women versus men. We’re talking about violence versus peace and control versus respect. Domestic violence affects us all, and all of us – women, children, and men – must be part of the solution.

7.  Do LGBTQ people experience domestic violence?

Yes, LGBTQ people can be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, economic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or education level.

At some point in their lives, 43.8% lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women [3].

Twenty-six percent of gay men and 37.3% of bisexual men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, in comparison to 29% of heterosexual men [4].

A 2016 report found that more than half (54%) of transgender individuals have experienced intimate partner violence. A 2015 study found that 22% of transgender respondents had been harassed by law enforcement, 6% were physically assaulted, and 46% felt uncomfortable seeking police assistance.

8. How does the economy affect domestic violence?

A bad economy does not cause domestic violence, but it can make it worse. The severity and frequency of abuse can increase when factors associated with a bad economy are present. Job loss, housing foreclosures, debt, and other factors contribute to higher stress levels at home, which can lead to increased violence.

As the abuse gets worse, a weak economy limits options for survivors to seek safety or escape. Additionally, domestic violence shelters and programs may experience funding cuts right when they need more staff and funding to keep up with the demand for their services. Victims may also have a more difficult time finding a job to become financially independent of abusers.

9. What can I do to help?

Everyone can speak out against domestic violence. Use our “10 Tips to Have Informed Conversation about Domestic Violence” to help guide your conversations with friends, colleagues, and loved ones.

Every person can take individual action to create a supportive community for survivors. Get involved in your community – we’ve got ideas for creative ways to get involved in our Get Involved Toolkit .

Members of the public can donate to local, statewide, or national anti-domestic violence programs or victim assistance programs, like NNEDV . Find your state or territory coalition here .

You can call on your public officials to support life-saving domestic violence services and hold perpetrators accountable. Learn more, or take action here .

[1] Catalano, S., U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence, 1998-2010. (Nov. 2012, revised Sep. 2015)

[2] Tjaden, P., and Thoennes, N., U.S. Department of Justice. Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence. (July 2000).

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation,” 2013.

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation,” 2013.

Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics    *  Domestic Violence Video Presentations   *   Online CEU Courses

From the Editorial Board of the Peer-Reviewed Journal, Partner Abuse www.springerpub.com/pa and the Advisory Board of the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Programs www.battererintervention.org *  www.domesticviolenceintervention.net

Resources for researchers, policy-makers, intervention providers, victim advocates, law enforcement, judges, attorneys, family court mediators, educators, and anyone interested in family violence


61-Page Author Overview

Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics at-a-Glance

PASK Researchers

PASK Video Summary by John Hamel, LCSW

  • Introduction
  • Implications for Policy and Treatment
  • Domestic Violence Politics

17 Full PASK Manuscripts and tables of Summarized Studies



The world's largest domestic violence research data base, 2,657 pages, with summaries of 1700 peer-reviewed studies.

Courtesy of the scholarly journal, Partner Abuse www.springerpub.com/pa and the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Providers www.domesticviolenceintervention.net

Over the years, research on partner abuse has become unnecessarily fragmented and politicized. The purpose of The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK) is to bring together in a rigorously evidence-based, transparent and methodical manner existing knowledge about partner abuse with reliable, up-to-date research that can easily be accessed both by researchers and the general public.

Family violence scholars from the United States, Canada and the U.K. were invited to conduct an extensive and thorough review of the empirical literature, in 17 broad topic areas. They were asked to conduct a formal search for published, peer-reviewed studies through standard, widely-used search programs, and then catalogue and summarize all known research studies relevant to each major topic and its sub-topics. In the interest of thoroughness and transparency, the researchers agreed to summarize all quantitative studies published in peer-reviewed journals after 1990, as well as any major studies published prior to that time, and to clearly specify exclusion criteria. Included studies are organized in extended tables, each table containing summaries of studies relevant to its particular sub-topic.

In this unprecedented undertaking, a total of 42 scholars and 70 research assistants at 20 universities and research institutions spent two years or more researching their topics and writing the results. Approximately 12,000 studies were considered and more than 1,700 were summarized and organized into tables. The 17 manuscripts, which provide a review of findings on each of the topics, for a total of 2,657 pages, appear in 5 consecutive special issues of the peer-reviewed journal Partner Abuse . All conclusions, including the extent to which the research evidence supports or undermines current theories, are based strictly on the data collected.

Contact: [email protected]


Online CEU Courses - Click Here for More Information

Also see VIDEOS and ADDITIONAL RESEARCH sections below.

Other domestic violence trainings are available at: www.domesticviolenceintervention.net , courtesy of the Association of Domestic Violence Intervention Providers (ADVIP)

Click here for video presentations from the 6-hour ADVIP 2020 International Conference on evidence-based treatment.

NISVS: The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

Click here for all reports

CLASSIC VIDEO PRESENTATIONS Murray Straus, Ph.D. *  Erin Pizzey  *  Don Dutton, Ph.D. Click Here

Video: the uncomfortable facts on ipv, tonia nicholls, ph.d., video: batterer intervention groups:  moving forward with evidence-based practice, john hamel, ph.d., additional research.

From Other Renowned Scholars and Clinicians.  Click on any name below for research, trainings and expert witness/consultation services


Arthur Cantos, Ph.D. University of Texas

Denise Hines, Ph.D. Clark University

Zeev Winstok, Ph.D. University of Haifa (Israel)


Don Dutton, Ph.D University of British Columbia (Canada)

K. Daniel O'Leary State University of New York at Stony Brook

Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Ph.D. University of South Alabama


Fred Buttell, Ph.D. Tulane University

Clare Cannon, Ph.D. University of California, Davis

Vallerie Coleman, Ph.D. Private Practice, Santa Monica, CA

Chiara Sabina, Ph.D. Penn State Harrisburg

Esteban Eugenio Santovena, Ph.D. Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Christauria Welland, Ph.D. Private Practice, San Diego, CA


Louise Dixon, Ph.D. University of Birmingham (U.K.)

Sandra Stith, Ph.D. Kansas State University

Gregory Stuart, Ph.D. University of Tennessee Knoxville


Deborah Capaldi, Ph.D. Oregon Social Learning Center

Patrick Davies, Ph.D. University of Rochester

Miriam Ehrensaft, Ph.D. Columbia University Medical Ctr.

Amy Slep, Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook


Carol Crabsen, MSW Valley Oasis, Lancaster, CA

Emily Douglas, Ph.D. Bridgewater State University

Leila Dutton, Ph.D. University of New Haven

Margaux Helm WEAVE, Sacramento, CA

Linda Mills, Ph.D. New York University

Brenda Russell, Ph.D. Penn State Berks


Ken Corvo, Ph.D. Syracuse University

Jeffrey Fagan, Ph.D. Columbia University

Brenda Russell, Ph.D, Penn State Berks

Stan Shernock, Ph.D. Norwich University


Julia Babcock, Ph.D. University of Houston

Fred Buttell, Ph.D.Tulane University

Michelle Carney, Ph.D. University of Georgia

Christopher Eckhardt, Ph.D. Purdue Univerity

Kimberly Flemke, Ph.D. Drexel University

Nicola Graham-Kevan, Ph.D. Univ. Central Lancashire (U.K.)

Peter Lehmann, Ph.D. University of Texas at Arlingon

Penny Leisring, Ph.D. Quinnipiac University

Christopher Murphy, Ph.D. University of Maryland

Ronald Potter-Efron, Ph.D. Private Practice, Eleva, WI

Daniel Sonkin, Ph.D. Private Practice, Sausalito, CA.

Lynn Stewart, Ph.D. Correctional Service, Canada

Casey Taft, Ph.D Boston University School of Medicine

Jeff Temple, Ph.D. University of Texas Medical Branch

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  • v.7(3); 2017

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Qualitative study to explore the health and well-being impacts on adults providing informal support to female domestic violence survivors

Alison gregory.

1 Centre for Academic Primary Care, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

2 School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia

Emma Williamson

3 Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol, Social Science Complex, Bristol, UK

Domestic violence (DV) is hazardous to survivors' health, from injuries sustained and from resultant chronic physical and mental health problems. Support from friends and relatives is significant in the lives of DV survivors; research shows associations between positive support and the health, well-being and safety of survivors. Little is known about how people close to survivors are impacted. The aim of this study was exploratory, with the following research question: what are the health and well-being impacts on adults who provide informal support to female DV survivors?

A qualitative study using semistructured interviews conducted face to face, by telephone or using Skype. A thematic analysis of the narratives was carried out.

Community-based, across the UK.


People were eligible to take part if they had had a close relationship (either as friend, colleague or family member) with a woman who had experienced DV, and were aged 16 or over during the time they knew the survivor. Participants were recruited via posters in community venues, social media and radio advertisement. 23 participants were recruited and interviewed; the majority were women, most were white and ages ranged from mid-20s to 80.

Generated themes included: negative impacts on psychological and emotional well-being of informal supporters, and related physical health impacts. Some psychological impacts were over a limited period; others were chronic and had the potential to be severe and enduring. The impacts described suggested that those providing informal support to survivors may be experiencing secondary traumatic stress as they journey alongside the survivor.


Friends and relatives of DV survivors experience substantial impact on their own health and well-being. There are no direct services to support this group. These findings have practical and policy implications, so that the needs of informal supporters are legitimised and met.

Strengths and limitations of this study

  • This study provides an indepth exploration of the health and well-being impacts experienced by friends and family members supporting a woman who is experiencing domestic violence (DV).
  • A key strength of this research is the novelty of perspective, because it accessed the experiences of friends and relatives directly, which is vital if we are to understand the wider context and implications of DV.
  • The data came from face-to-face interviews, but the main researcher (AG) also kept a reflective diary and fieldnotes. AG also carried out a member-checking process during the interviews to increase rigour and validity of results.
  • This study shows that friends, colleagues and relatives of survivors experience substantial impact on health and well-being and may, in some cases, be experiencing secondary traumatic stress.
  • One of the limitations of this research was that the sample lacked breadth, particularly in terms of ethnicity. It will be important to try to address this in future research.


Domestic violence (DV) is a global issue to which no age group, culture or socioeconomic group is insusceptible. 1 The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that, throughout the world, one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime, and in most cases, the abuser will be a family member. 2

The Council of Europe, the WHO and the United Nations have all identified violence against women as a major public health issue. 2–4 The most obvious health consequence is physical injury, with 70% of DV incidents resulting in injury. 5 Less apparent are chronic health problems which result; research demonstrates links between DV and gynaecological problems, 6 chronic pain, 7 gastrointestinal disorders 8 9 and cardiovascular conditions. 10 There is also substantial evidence for the harmful consequences on mental health, with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and suicidal ideation commonly experienced by survivors. 11 12

Research suggests that the majority of female DV survivors choose to access support (practical and emotional) from adults around them. 13–16 In a study by Parker and Lee, 14 89% of DV survivors disclosed the abuse they were experiencing to friends and relatives. While many survivors rely on informal support alongside professional and specialist services, there are a large number who rely initially, predominantly or exclusively on friends, relatives and colleagues. 13 16 17 Research has demonstrated that positive social support buffers against effects of abuse on survivors' physical health, mental health and quality of life, and that it can be preventive against them experiencing further abuse. 18–21

Exposure to violence can be traumatic in its own right. 22–24 Indeed, the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) 25 recognises the experiences of people who have witnessed traumatic events, and those who have learnt about events that have happened to close relatives and friends. Historically, this idea of secondary traumatic stress (STS)—sometimes referred to as indirect trauma, compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma—has only been applied to people working as professionals with traumatised patients or clients. More recently, however, researchers have begun to direct attention towards those providing support in an informal capacity, noting the overlap with impacts that professionals in caring roles experience. 26

In summary, there is substantial evidence that women experiencing DV draw support from people in their social network and that, when this is positive, there are important benefits. However, because the direct study of people in DV survivors' social networks is rare, little is known about the possible diffusion of impacts, including the possibility of STS. 17 27 28

This qualitative study was conducted in the UK. The aim of the research was exploratory, with the following research question: what are the health and well-being impacts on adults who provide informal support to female DV survivors? Owing to the emotive nature of the topic, individual interviews were considered the most appropriate mode of data collection.

Maximum variation sampling was used to recruit participants with a range of experiences, attitudes and beliefs. It is an approach which aims to capture and describe themes that cut across a great deal of participant variation, so that common patterns that do emerge are of value and interest. In order to access a diverse range of people, advertisement of the study included: posters in local healthcare and community settings, social media and web-advertisement, and promotion on local radio. Particular emphasis was placed on attempting to recruit participants with an ethnic background other than White British, in recognition of the general under-representation of individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds in health research. 29 For this reason, the study was also advertised by agencies in Bristol working with black and minority ethnic groups.

Participants were eligible if they had had a close relationship with a female survivor of DV, and were aged 16 or over during the time they knew the survivor.

DV was defined according to the UK Home Office definition:

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: psychological, physical, sexual, financial & emotional. 30

Owing to the gender asymmetry around DV, particularly in terms of impact, 31–33 and because much less is known about the ways men experiencing DV interact with their social networks, 34 35 it was decided to focus this work on the friends and relatives of female survivors, though the perpetrator could be of either gender.

Twenty-three participants were recruited and interviewed. A further 63 people expressed an interest in the study: 33 were ineligible (27 were survivors rather than informal supporters, 5 had been exposed to DV during childhood rather than adulthood, and 1 was not based in the UK), 28 made no further response after initial contact and 2 were recruited but failed to attend the arranged interview. The relationships that participants had to a survivor were: mother (4), father (2), sister (2), niece (1), daughter-in-law (1), current partner (3), friend (15) and work colleague (2). There were more than 23 different relationships described, because some participants had known multiple survivors. The majority of participants were women (18), most were white (including ‘White British’, ‘White European’ and ‘White Other’ ethnicities) and their ages ranged from mid-20s to 80.

Procedures and data collection

People who were interested in taking part, having seen the posters or online advertisements for the study, contacted the first author (AG) by telephone or email. They were given a study information leaflet and a copy of the consent form (via email or mail) at least 48 hours prior to participating in an interview. Written consent was obtained from each participant. For safety, face-to-face interviews took place in university buildings or community premises (eg, private rooms in local council offices). Participants also had the option to be interviewed over the telephone or using Skype. Only AG and each participant were present during the interviews, and participants were only interviewed once. Sociodemographic data were collected to inform the analysis, contextualise participants and guide recruitment strategies. Participant confidentiality and anonymity were of paramount importance, thus only AG knew who had participated in the study. Transcripts of the data were cleaned to remove identifying information prior to sharing with the team for analysis, and all data were held securely in accordance with University of Bristol regulations. The limits of confidentiality, particularly reporting requirements for safeguarding issues, were explained to participants. To reduce the likelihood of distress, the voluntary nature of the research was emphasised throughout, and the researcher was attentive to participants' emotional state.

The interviews were conducted between August 2012 and April 2013 by the first author. A topic guide (which had been pilot tested) was used, with questions and prompts to elicit information pertinent to the research question. In addition, a form of member-checking was undertaken by AG throughout the interviews, by restating and summarising information to check accuracy of understanding with participants. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and imported into NVivo10 software. The interviews ranged in length from 35 to 90 min, and saturation of themes was reached after 23 interviews. Following the interviews, an information sheet detailing local and national DV services and counselling services was shared with participants.

Researcher reflexivity

Part of ensuring the rigour of qualitative research is for investigators to recognise that they themselves necessarily form part of the context for interactions with participants, and that they bring their traditions, values and personal qualities to each aspect of the study. 36 For this reason, it is also important for the reader to have an understanding of who conducted the research: the first author (AG) is a woman, white and was in her late 30s when she carried out the interviews as part of her PhD. She had been a senior research associate for 4 years prior to her PhD studentship, and continued to work as a counsellor alongside her research (participants were informed that AG was a PhD student, but not that she had an additional counselling role). AG had had no prior contact with participants. Reflexivity also involves an active noticing by the researcher as she journeys through the research process, which for this study included keeping a reflective diary and detailed fieldnotes to capture reflections on: context, interview process, thoughts about participants, and about the relationships created during the interviews. At the interview stage, the recording of these reflections helped AG to consider what had gone well and what could have been performed differently, in order to hone interview skills and use of the topic guide. At the analysis stage, the noted descriptions of key messages from the interviews were revisited, in order to check that the developed themes reflected these.

Data analysis

A thematic analysis of the data was carried out and was undertaken in parallel with the interviews. In thematic analysis, transcripts are read multiple times in conjunction with fieldnotes, and key concepts noted. 37 These concepts form a list of initial codes which are applied line-by-line to the transcripts (for this study, using NVivo10 software). Initial descriptive codes are grouped into themes which were refined using constant comparison : a process throughout the analysis of comparing units of data with the entire data set and emerging theories, to modify constructs and relationships between them. 38 For this study, AG analysed all of the transcripts, and EW and GF each analysed a subset. The researchers familiarised themselves with the data, identifying text that was relevant to the research question. AG generated initial descriptive codes, a vast index to encompass everything that might be of interest. AG then collated linked codes in tentative groupings at the broader level of themes. The themes were honed, through discussion, until consensus between the authors was reached, and any relationships between the coded data were noted—this was an iterative process which distilled and refined in a cyclical fashion. 39

In the end stages, fieldnotes were revisited to check whether the honed themes reflected the key messages recorded immediately postinterview.

In the presentation of findings, illustrative quotes from participants' narratives are used. The parentheses after each quote contain the participant's pseudonym and their relationship to the survivor.

The generated themes described a variety of different types of impact on health and well-being experienced by informal supporters of survivors. For clarity, the impacts on psychological and emotional well-being have been split into two sections. The first describes the impacts people experienced following the witnessing (either visually or by description) of incidents, such as shock, fear and panic. The second relates to impacts that were connected with the overall strain and pressure of the situation, including: anger, frustration, anxiety, distress, sadness, confusion and guilt. In the final section of the findings, the impacts on physical health are described; where the stress of the situation had begun to take a toll on people's functioning and physiology.

Psychological and emotional impacts

A large theme that emerged from the interviews was the impact on psychological and emotional well-being, which one participant described as the emotional burden. People talked about the recurrence or persistence of these impacts, with several suffering ill-effects long after abusive relationships had ended. Many of the impacts were experienced concurrently or in succession; thus, there was a cumulative effect on people's well-being.

Impacts following the witnessing of incidents

Shock and horror.

Several participants spoke of their shock when they first heard about the abuse, witnessed it first-hand or witnessed the aftermath. For a few participants, this shock was particularly triggered by seeing survivors' injuries following physical violence, or by unfolding revelations about the extent of the violence.

Fear and panic

This shock, at what the perpetrator was capable of, could lead to fear and panic, in response to a sense of threat that participants felt for their own safety: Suzie (a mother to a survivor) spoke about how frightened she was when the perpetrator was threatening to kill her . For Vicky, it was a growing sense that the perpetrator was a very dangerous man:

I thought, ‘If he's worked out that I'm interfering and trying to pull her away from him, trying to help her to escape, he may well do anything irrational to me to stop me from interfering.’…I had to really train myself to remember that the bogey man wasn't there, [the perpetrator] wasn't there, I'd parked my car, there was nobody around, walk with purpose, be confident, he's not gonna attack you. (Vicky, Work colleague)

For other people, fear was linked with situations they recognised as highly dangerous for the survivor. These fears were proportional and realistic about potential outcomes, including: the abduction or harming of children and the death or serious injury of the woman. Emily described how panic could ensue during periods when the survivor's future was in doubt:

I was kind of living on adrenalin, I was sort of just walking from room to room. I couldn't sit down, I couldn't concentrate. My mind was just racing, I was just in a state of panic. (Emily, Mother)

Impacts resulting from the overall strain of the situation

Anger and frustration.

Most participants talked about feelings of anger and frustration. For people who felt these emotions, the predominant cause was the perpetrators' behaviour towards survivors and children:

I felt this anger welling up inside of me, and I just felt that I needed to sort of move away from him. … It's building up, and I can feel it. I just feel that, I mean I want to go round there and give him a good hiding, and I'm 70. (Eric, Father)

Several people also mentioned anger towards professionals or relatives, who they felt had responded insufficiently. Often tied with these feelings was a strong sense of injustice; that what was right had not prevailed:

I feel very angry that no one helped her. And now I know that it was Social Services' responsibility to help the child and to help her. It was their responsibility… I still feel angry, because I think the way they did it, the baby could have died, they were putting the baby at risk. (Zakia, Friend)

For many, there was nothing short-lived about their anger, particularly where the perpetrator continued to be abusive towards the survivor via his contact with their children. In addition to anger, people often mentioned a level of frustration they felt towards the survivor, largely when they believed she was not using her capacity to act.

Anxiety and worry

All of the participants described feeling anxious or worried about the situation, and for many people, these feelings, and the associated thoughts, pervaded their lives for a period of weeks, months or even years. Some people described worry in the initial stages of the relationship, before they knew about the abuse, which manifested as nagging concern:

It was when we were on holiday and I saw how he was towards my granddaughter that I was very worried, and when we came home I said to my husband that I was very concerned… (Eve, Mother)

Others described anxiety about their interactions with the survivor, or the perpetrator, wanting to guard against making the situation worse. People also mentioned ongoing concerns they had for the survivor after the abusive relationship ended, particularly the continuing potential for harm:

I still worry now that he'll hurt her, I don't ever feel 100% that something bad isn't gonna happen. (Gwen, Sister)

Fear, following exposure to abuse, could manifest as anxiety longer term, as people began to imagine all the possible outcomes of the situation. This was true for Emily, who had feared that her daughter would re-enter the abusive relationship:

I was just pacing the floor, just crying, just hysterical, I was like close to the edge. I couldn't go to work, I had to take weeks off work, ‘cos I couldn't focus, I couldn't go to work; I was just beside myself, absolutely beside myself. I really thought that there was a possibility my daughter would end up dead, if she went back, to that relationship. (Emily, Mother)

For many participants, anxious thoughts had persisted, particularly where the survivor was viewed as vulnerable, for example: by being young, by living far from their support network or by having recently exited the relationship.

Distress and upset

The feelings of distress and upset that people described were sometimes connected with changes in their relationship with the survivor, and sometimes with thoughts about the abuse the survivor had suffered. For Stacey, it was her friend Hannah's decision to remain in the relationship that was incredibly upsetting:

I haven't been able to contact her, because it's just too upsetting to me… ‘He's now hurting you. How's it gone from there to there?’ And then I've told her, and then that's all I can do. I can't do anymore ‘cos I'm just so upset. (Stacey, Friend)

In describing what her team of colleagues had been exposed to, Vicky spoke metaphorically of a little container of terrible distress , an awfulness that was not easy to shake, due to the nature and frequency of abuse their colleague suffered.

Several participants talked about the longevity of distress. Suzie, for example, spoke of continued pain evoked by memories of harrowing times while supporting her daughter. People who had been in an abusive relationship themselves, or who had been exposed to DV during childhood, spoke of their distress as memories of their own past resurfaced:

To watch it happening to somebody else I found very distressing…I was very frightened of my father at that age. (Lily, Friend)

Overwhelm and saturation

Some participants spoke about having reached a point where they felt overwhelmed or saturated, using words like, breaking point , exhausted and drained to convey the all-consuming nature of the situation. Others described peaks and troughs of intensity, and the need to take time out on occasion, to protect their own sense of well-being.

Tension and turmoil

Linked with feelings of shock, that some people experienced when they first heard about the situation, several participants also described the longer term challenges to their core beliefs about: humanity, justice and safety in the world. The way people described these impacts intimated the unsettling nature of having foundational assumptions called into question. Josie discovered that three women she knew had been abused by partners, which challenged her ideas about DV not happening to women who were professional or strong . Lily also struggled with the idea that her intelligent and dynamic friend chose to remain in an abusive relationship, and Emily was unsettled by the idea that DV could happen to people who were like her. For others, it was the fact that the survivor was prepared to remain with a violent man that led to their bewilderment :

I didn't know how people could live like that, how you could treat someone like that, or even how you could go back to someone after they'd treated you like that. (Anne, Friend)

Many participants also described inner dissonance; conflicting pressures within themselves, leaving them ill-at-ease. Before they had understood the situation, Sally and Eric experienced tension between their love for their daughter, and frustration at the way Amanda was behaving towards them. A few participants also spoke of the tension between the desire to intervene and the need to respect the survivor's wishes:

She had her plan and we wanted to respect that. But the stress that came with not hiring a van, going there, dealing with him … the stress of that was monumental at times. (Louise, Friend)

Sense of responsibility

Some participants found themselves in a position of feeling a burden, a duty or a weight of responsibility because of the nature of the situation. These people spoke of putting their own priorities on hold, of substantially altering life-plans and of the all-consuming nature of supporting a survivor through intense periods. Where there was complexity in the situation, the sense of responsibility was compounded; for example, where the survivor had an addiction, had children with the perpetrator, had a mental health condition or where she lacked additional social support.

Feeling disempowered

Another description which appeared in people's narratives was disempowerment. Participants spoke about feeling impotent to intervene during the relationship, and to protect and support sufficiently in the aftermath:

I felt really helpless that she was going back to situations where we knew she was gonna be hurt, but by then understanding domestic violence, knowing that for her safety that's what she wanted to do. And we only had to go with what she wanted … (Gwen, Sister)

Several people spoke about the persistence of this sense of powerlessness; that months or years after the end of abusive relationship, they still felt unable to stop the perpetrator impacting on the lives of their loved ones:

I just feel as if I want to protect my daughter and my grandchildren … it's very, very painful, very painful. But I don't seem to be able to do anything about it. My hands are tied and I need to get her out of this mess. (Eric, Father)

There was also a sense that some people lacked voice; that their experiences and their viewpoints were often disregarded, seen as unimportant or invalidated. Silencing came in many forms; sometimes it was professionals or employers not acting on information, and sometimes the survivor herself, either intentionally or unwittingly, prevented expression. Occasionally, participants silenced themselves by questioning the legitimacy of their feelings:

I do [get opportunity to voice those thoughts] a bit, but I guess to some extent I feel that I should be supportive of Judy, because she is the victim and I kind of think I should just be able to be a bit more detached, not feel that way myself, and just be there to support her. (Richard, Partner)

Sadness and depression

Many participants spoke of having felt low at some point; most of these people described a dip in mood that indicated despondency or a temporary sense of hopelessness, but some had been diagnosed with depression, taken antidepressants or had had suicidal thoughts. Suzie mentioned taking antidepressants at a point where she had started to feel numb:

I just I remember sitting in an armchair in my living room, literally with the duvet over me and I just couldn't move or I just lost it, I didn't really feel anything and then depression … (Suzie, Mother)

During this time, Suzie considered ending her life, because the circumstances felt so desperate. Likewise, Sally hit a similar point where she could not see a way forward:

I decided I'd kill myself (crying) … I felt just done with everything; I was just going to jump in the sea … I remember going, choosing the place. (Sally, Mother)

Confusion and uncertainty

All participants described periods of confusion, not only about the situation itself, and what the trajectory might be, but also about how to best support the survivor and protect themselves. At the point where people knew very little, they described feeling in the dark and trying to work it out ; a piece-meal process to draw their own conclusions about the relationship, which they often discovered were inaccurate or partial:

I thought perhaps I'd upset them in some way and I wasn't sure what or how … my assumption was that they had financial troubles, and I was trying to probe to see what it was … I was worried about her. But I didn't know what I was worried about. (Barry, Father)

Stacey made the point that with health conditions, it was possible to have some sense of trajectory and outcome, unlike DV:

I think if you have a friend who's got cancer or diabetes or something like, you kinda know what's happening next…But when you're supporting someone who's in a violent relationship, you don't really know when it's gonna end, how long they're gonna need you to support them, or how much worse it's gonna get. (Stacey, Friend)

Guilt and self-blame

The most frequent causes of guilt described by informal supporters were not having known sooner about the DV, and not having understood what the behaviours they had witnessed meant:

I'm sad, that we couldn't help her sooner, or that we didn't prevent it from happening, it makes me sort of sad with myself really, I think, and angry at myself and, for not being supportive sooner, and doubting her. (Gwen, Sister)

Several people also described guilt they felt in relation to offering support that felt inferior. This was especially the case where their relationship with the survivor had become strained, or was lost completely. For Kate, a sense of guilt, which had persisted for many years, was her over-riding emotion:

I felt really guilty about that … I didn't feel like I could be honest with her anymore… I felt bad about it. Which was horrible of me, I still feel I've been horrible to her, because I didn't, well I don't know if I did the right thing, I still don't know if I did the right thing. (Kate, Friend)

For others, there were feelings of guilt when positive things happened in their own lives, for example, Anne described feelings akin to survivor guilt because she had fled an abusive relationship, started a new relationship, and become a mother, while her friend Sarah remained with her partner, and had been coerced into having an abortion.

Physical health impacts

In addition to psychological and emotional impacts, many people talked about the stress of the situation; a summary term, which they used to describe some of the physical health impacts they experienced.

Physical symptoms and ailments

Mostly, the health repercussions participants mentioned were those which had resulted from heightened states of panic, anxiety, fear, powerlessness and anger, describing feeling sick, shaky and physically unsettled:

For me that comes with a physical feeling of almost not being able to breathe and feeling churned up inside… (Suzie, Mother)

A few people mentioned less transient physical ailments that they felt had resulted from the stress of supporting a survivor: back and neck tension, migraines, shortness of breath and tight-chestedness. Eric, in particular, felt his symptoms (similar to those of a heart attack) were connected with the anger and powerlessness he felt.

Sleep difficulties

Friends and relatives of survivors described broken sleep for a period of time, linked with relentless concerns for the survivor, or worries regarding their role. Relatives and partners, in particular, reported loss of sleep at critical times:

I was close to breaking point, I didn't sleep. … And I thought, this means she'll go back to him, and I remember I didn't sleep at all that week, I was just pacing the floor. (Emily, Mother)

People who mentioned sleep difficulties talked about the impact of late evening communication with the survivor, or with others involved. Some proposed an association between reduction in quality of sleep and the intense emotions experienced.

Appetite and weight loss

Mark and Emily mentioned loss of appetite and weight loss when discussing their health, describing it as their bodies' default response to stressful events. For Mark, it was triggered when he tried to relieve the pressure on his wife by dealing with reams of solicitor correspondence. For Emily, it happened during a time of huge anxiety, while trying to persuade her daughter from returning to the perpetrator.

The interviews highlighted that impacts on health and well-being of informal supporters of DV survivors were many and varied. There was a spectrum of experience in terms of severity and longevity of impact, with informal supporters describing different impacts from one another, and also changes in impact at different stages in their individual journeys. The identification of subgroups of participants with differing experiences was complex, for example, while the relationship between the informal supporter and the survivor was important, it was not whether they were relatives, friends or colleagues, but rather the quality of the relationship which mattered. The gender of the informal supporter, whether or not the survivor had children, and the level of abuse the informal supporter knew about were additional mediators of impact. Further research is needed for a greater understanding of how variance in the DV situation and in the characteristics of informal supporters influence impact.

Many of these impacts, such as anger, fear, sadness, helplessness and disruptions to sleep and to core beliefs, are sequelae of trauma; the same symptoms as those known to be experienced by people following direct exposure to traumatic events. 40 41

One of the suggested mechanisms through which traumatic experiences have health implications is the stress-process framework. 42 43 Within this framework, external stressors provoke physiological and psychological responses, 43 44 which impact on health and well-being, particularly if the stressors are over a long period. Given that the average length of an abusive relationship is 5 years, 45 those involved are certainly at risk of chronic stress and its sequelae. More than 20 years ago, Figley 46 47 suggested that these effects were not limited to the person experiencing traumatic events; that emergency responders and therapists could also be affected, particularly when repeatedly exposed to incidents or disclosures over time. More recently, changes to the DSM-5 have drawn attention to those providing informal support as well as those providing professional support. 25 The findings from this study add weight to the idea of risk of STS for people providing informal support in the particular scenario of DV. In addition, research suggests differential experiences of traumatic stress dependent on factors such as personal characteristics, sociodemography, social support and aggregate life events. 42 43 46 48 The variation in reported impacts (in terms of type, severity and longevity) by participants in this study lends support to this idea.

Moreover, there is overlap between the findings from this study, and research with people providing informal support to relatives or friends who have experienced other forms of trauma. For example, one in three spouses of Holocaust survivors were found to be suffering from psychological distress and STS symptoms, 49 and Christiansen et al 24 reported that relatives, friends and partners of men and women who had been raped showed ‘significant levels of traumatization’ , with 25% suffering from PTSD.

Implications for policy, practice and research

The findings from this research indicate that the health and well-being of informal supporters are affected in situations of DV. In terms of policy, the social context of survivors is rarely visible, which needs to be addressed, so that the needs of informal supporters are considered. In addition, there is need for professionals who work in positions where they routinely come into contact with survivors to attend to other people within the situation; reflecting on who might be experiencing impact, and providing opportunities for disclosure, and for legitimisation of concerns. Healthcare providers, in particular, are well placed to respond to all parties affected by DV, which is why training around this issue for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals is vital. 50–52

Research about informal supporters is crucial for understanding the context of survivors' lives. 53 Specifically, with the intention of improving outcomes for informal supporters and for survivors, research is needed to develop and test interventions directly targeting those in the social networks of survivors.

Strengths and limitations

One of the limitations of this research is that the sample lacked breadth for certain sociodemographic characteristics, ethnicity in particular. People from minority ethnic backgrounds are frequently under-represented in research 29 and, while substantial effort was made to recruit people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, this was not especially successful. Moreover, though a wide definition of DV was used (to include perpetrators who were other family members), the experiences captured were almost exclusively those of informal supporters of survivors of intimate partner violence. The reported findings relate specifically to this sample, so it is possible that the experiences of other people providing informal support to a survivor would differ.

A key strength of this study is the novelty of perspective because it accessed the experiences of informal supporters of survivors directly, which is vital in order to understand the wider context and implications of DV.

Research has drawn attention to the extent to which women experiencing violence seek support from their friends, colleagues and family members, and the advantages this can have for their well-being and safety. The impact that this has on the health and well-being of people providing informal support has previously been unexplored. Findings from this study indicate the physical, psychological and emotional impacts on people providing informal support, suggesting that this is a group of people who may be at risk of STS. In order to prevent and reduce these impacts, informal supporters of survivors would benefit from recognition of their predicament, and provision of support, so that their own well-being, quality of life, capacity and coping are not diminished. These findings have practical and policy implications, so that the experiences and needs of the full range of people in DV scenarios are legitimised and met.


The authors would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all the participants who took part in this research.

Contributors: As part of her PhD, AG secured the funding, designed the reported study and carried out the data collection. AG analysed the data in collaboration with EW, AT and GF. AG wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript and approved the final version.

Funding: This research was conducted as part of PhD study which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research and was hosted by the University of Bristol.

Competing interests: None declared.

Ethics approval: Research Ethics Committee in the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol.

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.

Power Through Partnerships

A cbpr toolkit for domestic violence researchers.

This toolkit is for researchers across disciplines and social locations who are working in academic, policy, community, or practice-based settings. In particular, the toolkit provides support to emerging researchers as they consider whether and how to take a CBPR approach and what it might mean in the context of their professional roles and settings. Domestic violence advocates will also find useful information on the CBPR approach and how it can help answer important questions about your work.

Suggested Citation: Goodman, L.A., Thomas, K.A., Serrata, J.V., Lippy, C., Nnawulezi, N., Ghanbarpour, S., Macy, R., Sullivan, C. & Bair-Merritt, M.A. (2017). Power through partnerships: A CBPR toolkit for domestic violence researchers. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Harrisburg, PA. Retrieved from cbprtoolkit.org

Overview of CBPR and its importance to the domestic violence field

Foundational information about the definition and history of CBPR, and more importantly, CBPR within domestic violence work.

Preparation and Planning

How to engage in the self-reflection necessary for conducting CBPR in the domestic violence arena while learning about the community with which you’d like to collaborate.

CBPR values and practices in the domestic violence context

A description of the core values of CBPR and a set of concrete questions and ideas to help you translate these values into action.

Ready to initiate CBPR in your community? Use These Extra Tools To Guide Action.

Download these tools with the full toolkit or each individually to save valuable time and resources.

Download Consent to Participate in Research Form

What's the purpose of your study? What will happen during your study? Will my information be kept private? Download this and let others know.

Download Co-created CBPR Project Principles and Agreements

Build your efforts on our solid foundation of CBPR principles based on 30 years of our collective lived experiences. Download and get started.

Download Examples of CBPR Partnerships

Two case studies that demonstrate successful collaboration within the CBPR field. Download and read for additional inspiration.

Download Sample Scholarly Article Summary

A short summary of a study, potentially useful for practitioners who do not have time to read an article in a journal. Download and see how.

Who Are We?

We are a group of CBPR researchers who bring decades of experience doing CBPR from the perspective of different disciplines, professional settings, communities, roles, and identities. Some of us are based in universities and others are based in national organizations. All of us have worked directly in and/or with programs that serve survivors.

Dr. Lisa A. Goodman

A Special Thanks...

We are grateful for the enormous contribution from doctoral students at Boston College and Simmons School of Social Work, our video editor, and of course WT Grant Foundation - who provided the initial investment in this project. We also thank the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, who decided that this toolkit should be more than a local endeavor and supported our efforts to expand it.

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence

  • Section 1: Overview of CBPR and its Importance to the Domestic Violence Field
  • Section 2: Preparation and Planning
  • Section 3: CBPR Values and Practices in the Domestic Violence Context

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Domestic Violence

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Haitian women meet to discuss security measures and how to protect themselves in the face of growing violence against women in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Domestic violence describes abuse perpetrated by one partner against another in the context of an interpersonal relationship. Domestic violence can be committed by current or former partners. The alternate term intimate partner violence has gained favor in the twenty-first century, as it expands the definition to include relationships between couples who are not married or cohabiting. Family violence further extends the scope of the issue to consider cases in which other immediate family members are victimized by violent or abusive behavior.

The prevalence of domestic and intimate partner violence is difficult to determine, as these forms of violence often remain unreported. For example, according to the US Department of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime, reports of intimate partner violence...  ( Opposing Viewpoints )

  • Is domestic violence a sign that  America’s family values are in decline?
  • Do female batterers differ from male batterers?
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  • What types of treatment are available for abusive husbands and wives?
  • How effective are these treatments in preventing future abuse?
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Domestic violence and abusive relationships: Research review

Research review of data and studies relating to intimate partner violence and abusive relationships.

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by John Wihbey, The Journalist's Resource August 17, 2015

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The controversy over NFL star Ray Rice and the instance of domestic violence he perpetrated, which was caught on video camera, stirred wide discussion about sports culture, domestic violence and even the psychology of victims and their complex responses to abuse . In 2015, domestic violence drew a national spotlight again when the South Carolina newspaper, the Post and Courier , won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation of women who were abused by men and had been dying at a rate of one every 12 days.

The research on domestic violence, referred to more precisely in academic literature as “intimate partner violence” (IPV), has grown substantially over the past few decades. Although knowledge of the problem and its scope have deepened, the issue remains a major health and social problem afflicting women. In November 2014 the World Health Organization estimated that 35% of all women have experienced either intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner during their lifetimes. This figure is supported by the findings of a 2013 peer-reviewed metastudy — the most rigorous form of research analysis — published in the leading academic journal Science . That metastudy found that “in 2010, 30.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 27.8 to 32.2%] of women aged 15 and over have experienced, during their lifetime, physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence.” The prevalence found among high-income regions in North America was 21.3%. Of course, under-reporting remains a substantial problem in this research area.

In 2010, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that “more than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) … in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” That survey was subsequently updated in September 2014. The findings, based on telephone surveys with more than 12,000 people in 2011, include:

The lifetime prevalence of physical violence by an intimate partner was an estimated 31.5% among women and in the 12 months before taking the survey, an estimated 4.0% of women experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. An estimated 22.3% of women experienced at least one act of severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes. With respect to individual severe physical violence behaviors, being slammed against something was experienced by an estimated 15.4% of women, and being hit with a fist or something hard was experienced by 13.2% of women. In the 12 months before taking the survey, an estimated 2.3% of women experienced at least one form of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Still, the overall rates of IPV in the United States have been generally falling over the past two decades, and in 2013 the federal government reauthorized an enhanced Violence Against Women Act , adding further legal protections and broadening the groups covered to include LGBT persons and Native American women. (For research on the relatively higher violence rates among gay men, see the 2012 study “Intimate Partner Violence and Social Pressure among Gay Men in Six Countries.” )


A 2013 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family , “Women’s Education, Marital Violence, and Divorce: A Social Exchange Perspective,” analyzes a nationally representative sample of more than 900 young U.S. women to look at factors that make females more likely to leave abusive relationships. The researchers, Derek A. Kreager, Richard B. Felson, Cody Warner and Marin R. Wenger, are all at Pennsylvania State University. They note that traditional “social exchange theory” would suggest that as women have more resources, they become less dependent on men and have more opportunities outside relationships, and therefore have more ability to divorce. The study sets out to “determine whether the relationship between a woman’s education and divorce is different in violent marriages.” The researchers also hypothesize that women who have higher levels of education are less likely to get divorced in general — prior academic work they cite supports this — but they aim to see how the introduction of intimate partner violence changes this dynamic.

The study’s findings include:

  • The data provide “support for our primary hypotheses that women’s education typically protects against divorce but that this association weakens in abusive marriages. In addition, we found a similar pattern for wives’ proportional income, net of education. Together, these patterns suggest that educational and financial resources benefit women by increasing marital stability in nonabusive marriages and promoting divorce in abusive marriages.”
  • Further, the “greater tendency for educated women to leave abusive marriages was substantial. For example, in highly violent marriages, women with a college degree had over a 10% greater probability of divorce in the observed time period than women without a college degree.”
  • The study also finds that “women with economic resources were likely to leave unhappy marriages, regardless of whether they involve abuse. Similarly, degree-earning women were more likely than less educated women to leave violent marriages, regardless of their feelings of dissatisfaction.”

The researchers note that, across the U.S. population, more women are attaining college degrees, and given the study’s findings, this suggests “increases in women’s education should reduce rates of domestic violence. In a population with many educated women, violent marriages are likely to break up.” They caution that it is also possible “that our observed patterns reflect husbands’ perceptions and decisions. Perhaps abusive men feel threatened by successful wives, which then increases divorce risk. Nonabusive men may not feel threatened and thus stay with successful women.” On this point, more research is required.

Related research: A 2015 study titled “When War Comes Home: The Effect of Combat Service on Domestic Violence” suggests that multiple deployments and longer deployment lengths may increase the chance of family violence. A June 2014 study published in the  Journal of Interpersonal Violence , “Intimate Partner Violence Before and During Pregnancy: Related Demographic and Psychosocial Factors and Postpartum Depressive Symptoms Among Mexican American Women,”  provides a snapshot of domestic violence in a community sample of low-income Hispanic women. A March 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010,” provides a broad picture of such crimes across American society, examining the demographics of both victims and offenders. Regarding the issue of IPV prevention, a 2003 metastudy published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) , “Interventions for Violence Against Women: Scientific Review,” found that “information about evidence-based approaches in the primary care setting for preventing IPV is seriously lacking…. Specifically, the effectiveness of routine primary care screening remains unclear, since screening studies have not evaluated outcomes beyond the ability of the screening test to identify abused women. Similarly, specific treatment interventions for women exposed to violence, including women’s shelters, have not been adequately evaluated.” Subsequent research continues to find problems with current techniques for screening and detection.

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Methodological and Ethical Issues Related to the Study of Domestic Violence and Abuse

  • Published: 29 June 2023
  • Volume 38 , pages 1009–1013, ( 2023 )

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On 7th April 2011, the Council of Europe, an international organization focusing on human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, adopted the “Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.” Commonly referred to as the Istanbul Convention after the city where Ministers signed the document, the convention provides a comprehensive legal framework and policy approach to combatting gendered violence for 46 member states, covering approximately 670 million people. By the end of 2022, the convention had been ratified by 38 European states, meaning that those states are legally bound by the provisions of the convention, which introduce a range of measures in respect of the “four Ps”: Prevention, Protection and Support of Victims, Prosecution of Offenders, and Integrated Policies. Importantly, Article 11 of the convention establishes obligations in relation to data collection and support for research, and one outcome of the convention is the shaping of the research agenda in respect of gender-based violence in Europe.

Since 2015 researchers, policy makers and service providers have met biennially at the European Conference on Domestic Violence to discuss how research can inform our understanding of, and response to, domestic violence and abuse. The 2021 conference, hosted by colleagues in Ljubljana, Slovenia, was the inspiration behind this special issue. While there is considerable focus in research on the issues that need to be researched, the conference also highlighted the importance of considering the ethical dimensions of research designs and approaches, and the potential for different methodologies to extend our insights. Focusing on these important aspects of how we do research can ensure that the highest standards are met regarding the integrity of the research process, the robustness of findings, and the ability for research to better elucidate the realities of those experiencing domestic violence and abuse. It can also help better support governments and agencies seeking to prevent and address all forms of gender based violence.

Of course, looking at issues about the ethical dimensions of research and innovative methods is not restricted to Europe. As such, in this special issue we have contributions from across the globe – highlighting the benefit of international conversations on these issues, and the importance of cross-national learning.

One of the most serious consequences of domestic violence and abuse is homicide. Internationally there is growing interest in understanding who is most at risk of being murdered, who is most likely to pose a risk of homicide, and how we might learn from such tragedies to develop better approaches to prevention and intervention. AbiNader et al. ( 2023 ) report that among homicides in the United States, intimate partners kill almost 50% of female and 10% of male victims. This critical review summarizes opportunities and challenges when examining intimate partner related fatalities using two large national datasets. They argue that using such large administrative datasets can yield useful insights and resource efforts to prevent such deaths. This theme is picked up in the article by Giesbrecht et al. ( 2023 ). The Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative with Vulnerable Populations examined intimate partner domestic homicide with a focus on four specific populations: Indigenous; immigrant and refugee; people living in rural, remote, and northern areas; and children exposed to domestic violence. Not only is the issue of defining intimate partner domestic homicide complex, but complexity also arises in how we define specific populations that experience different risks, barriers, and vulnerabilities to intimate partner violence and intimate partner domestic homicide.

There has been recent work in the United Kingdom looking at how researchers can be better supported to consider the ethical dimensions of undertaking research on domestic violence and abuse. Such considerations are necessary to account for the particular dynamics and risks associated with domestic violence and abuse. This recognises that good research should consider the motives, consequences, and context in which abuse and interventions take place. The Research Integrity Framework on Domestic Violence and Abuse (Women’s Aid et al., 2020 ) emerged from discussions between academic researchers and organisations with a long and successful record in raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse, and in influencing change. It highlights that the ethical dimensions of research are not only about how knowledge is created, but also about how the findings from research are used. There is a real concern that the research process, including the dissemination and use of findings, can be blind to the consequences for research participants (both individuals and organisations) of participating in research, and that findings may be taken out of context or even misused to support activities that may well be laudable, but impinge on the integrity of the original work. The thoughtful co-production of such a framework increases the potential for ethical and responsible context-specific research and policy engagement to challenge the intersecting structural inequalities which impact on, and often exacerbate the experience of domestic violence and abuse.

In this special issue, Larance and Kertesz ( 2023 ) invite us to consider risks embedded in the creation, development and use of intervention and research tools to be used against the very people they are meant to support. In their article, they present and discuss the C-ABI assessment tool, developed by practitioners for women who have survived and caused harm, and are entering anti-violence intervention programs. They found that implementing research and intervention tools requires careful consideration of the potential ethical implications, particularly when working within carceral systems of power, to ensure the well-being and agency of women are prioritized and not compromised by the misuse or misinterpretation of research findings.

The parallels between practitioner and researcher engagement with tools and data, and the risks of (mis)use of research findings are also a theme in the paper by Cook et al. ( 2023 ). They analyze the similarities between practitioners undertaking domestic violence fatality reviews, and researchers collecting and analyzing data from said reviews. By employing the Research Integrity Framework (Women’s Aid et al., 2020 ) they identify guiding principles to aid practitioners and researchers in navigating the shared challenges they face, and foster meaningful dialogue between the realms of system responses, practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

Beyond practitioners and researchers, domestic violence research is significantly shaped also by the funding landscape, as put forth by McGregor et al. ( 2023 ), whose focus is on participant recruitment. The paper explores power dynamics, participation barriers, payment practices, and the inclusion of perpetrators as participants. It argues that current practices may lack transparency, perpetuate marginalization, and silence victim/survivors. The paper highlights the need to redistribute power, address barriers to participation, the development of payment protocols, and the need for transparent and honest accounts of the decision-making processes related to and beyond participant recruitment as a central element of research design.

It is argued by Sánchez-Prada et al. ( 2023 ) that decisions linked to research design and measures are not merely technical, but predominantly ethical. The authors of this article identify that a substantial amount of scientific literature on intimate partner violence against women continues to overlook the gender perspective in research design and result interpretation. The gender-blindness impacts validity of results and the authors emphasize the need for multi-method approaches to address issues of construct underrepresentation and variance in construct-irrelevance. They advocate for incorporating the gender perspective as a fundamental explanatory factor and call for transparency in presenting the theoretical assumptions and use of measures in how research is reported.

Schucan Bird et al. ( 2023 ) have used the Research Integrity Framework (Women’s Aid et al., 2020 ) supplemented by additional themes identified in wider literature to ascertain ethical priorities in domestic violence and abuse research. The authors applied the framework in a systematic review examining empirical research on informal social support interventions regarding domestic violence and abuse. The study identifies priorities for researchers to enhance the ethics of systematic reviews in the field of domestic violence and abuse. Those undertaking systematic reviews are encouraged to actively engage with ethical issues at each stage of the review process, including consideration of reviewer positionality and reflexivity.

It is encouraging to note that in the field of domestic violence and abuse there is a broadening of the methodologies, research designs and methods that are being used to both understand the nature of domestic violence and abuse, and to evaluate whether approaches and interventions are delivering the anticipated benefits. This includes work looking at enhancing current approaches to data collection and analyses. While there is a growing body of research on the prevalence, dimensions and consequences of domestic violence and abuse, there are still disagreements about the symmetry across genders, the nature of impact of domestic violence and abuse on adult and child victims, how such impacts might be moderated by other characteristics, such as age, disability or ethnicity, and circumstances, such as poverty or being displaced. As such, the contributions to this special issue on measuring domestic violence and abuse are particularly important. Hester et al. ( 2023 ) analysed questions on domestic abuse in the Crime Survey for England and Wales and found that the current questions do not capture well the different ‘abuse profiles’, and are not specific enough to better inform policy and practice. The authors propose changes to the questionnaire that would allow a new comprehensive approach to domestic abuse surveys to be developed. Skafida et al. ( 2023 ) analysed seven longitudinal and multiple cross-sectional population-based surveys in the UK that asked about experiences of intimate partner violence and abuse. They evaluated the questionnaires to analyse the strengths and limitations of existing data on intimate partner violence and abuse in the UK. The main contribution of the analysis is a comprehensive list of recommendations to help develop future iterations of the same surveys and to inform the design of new research focusing on intimate partner violence and abuse.

Moving onto other research designs, Kurdi et al. ( 2023 ) examine implementation fidelity drawing on the evaluation of a UK-wide, manualized child abuse and neglect prevention program (including experiences of domestic violence and abuse) for elementary schools to assess how implementation fidelity can inform program development. The analysis shows that, in addition to the content of the programme, the importance of the delivery setting and staff engagement play a key role in creating a suitable space for the program’s key messages to be received and absorbed. The authors conclude that in order to ensure implementation fidelity is measured within evidence-based programs and interventions, developers need to further develop their intervention manuals by establishing and highlighting the essential components of an intervention.

Continuing with the focus on children, Robinson et al. ( 2023 ) explore the perspectives of children and young people with disability who experience domestic and family violence. Their article explores methodological, ethical and practical challenges to centring the voices of children with disabilities in research about domestic and family violence. The authors call for collective attention to frameworks for supported decision-making and child ethics to progress inclusive research which recognises the importance of participation for children and young people with disability.

In terms of new frontiers in research design, Neubauer et al. ( 2023 ) focus on systematic secondary data collection, using computational text mining methods. This method offers the ability to access existing or new datasets which are too large to analyse manually, for example social media postings, police incident reports, case summaries, Electronic Health Records or routine data collected by organisations supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse. The included studies showcase different models and techniques which can be used for research, as well as a variety of datasets and evaluation mechanisms which maximise the innovative nature of this new, interdisciplinary area.

Another systemic review was conducted by Tracy et al. ( 2023 ). They have focused on studies that developed or implemented a systems science approach, such as agent-based modelling, systems dynamic modelling, social network analysis, microsimulation, systems mapping, and group model-building. The aim was to investigate the risk of domestic violence, outcomes associated with domestic violence, and/or interventions to prevent domestic violence or mitigate its consequences. They conclude that the main advantages of systems science approaches for the study of domestic violence and abuse include the ability to account for the complex, non-linear, dynamic processes that characterize domestic violence and the broader context in which it occurs.

Participatory research and the co-production of knowledge is having a moment, with, for example, funders of research increasingly requiring that research studies are developed in conjunction with those being researched, and those who are the intended beneficiaries of this research. Within the wider field of gender-based violence there has been a long tradition of survivor led organisations and survivor informed research. This is borne out by the articles in this special issue. A coveted goal, participation might not always be truly meaningful; can lead to oversimplification, or even misrepresentation; and, issues of consent, confidentiality and anonymity might be more overlooked than in non-participatory research. Cullen et al. ( 2023 ) present on a youth participatory action research approach, building on experience from a research study designed to understand the clinical competencies required for professionals working with childhood experiences of intimate partner violence. Their findings highlighted important strategies for meaningful youth engagement in youth participatory action research, centred around respect, safety, diversity, relationships and processes.

Beyond participatory research as a method, issues of ethical considerations linked to participation and experience (in research and beyond) of participants are particularly central to another four papers in this special issue.

Nyklová et al. ( 2023 ) sketch three different research approaches, most notably experimental research, through the practice of the theatre of the oppressed, to investigate their advantages and drawbacks in the realm of qualitative research with survivors of gender-based violence, and identify key questions that need to be addressed before engaging in research. Their findings affirm the continued importance of ethical considerations advocated by proponents of feminist participatory action research, emphasizing the need to consider the social contexts of violence and adapt research designs to align with ethical principles. They conclude that researchers should strive for research designs that directly empower survivors.

Empowerment of participants is one of the leading themes in the findings presented in the article by Dragiewicz et al. ( 2023 ). The authors conducted a study to investigate the benefits and harms stemming from survivors’ participation in research. The findings revealed five themes, including reflections on recovery and personal growth, supporting other women, rejecting victim-blaming, empowerment, and the significance of timing. Overall, all participants reported positive experiences of participation in research, but the authors observed variations in participant narratives across different service cohorts, emphasizing the importance of considering recruitment methods associated with various stages of trauma.

Competency frameworks are the starting ground for the paper by Scott et al. ( 2023 ). The authors identify that traditional ‘expert practice’ models are not aligned with perspectives in the intimate partner violence field, which aims to centre survivor experiences and value non-professional knowledge. The authors developed a model, highlighting nine areas of capability shared by specialists in intimate partner violence services. The authors maintain that the integration of research, practice knowledge, survivor perspectives, and service provider voices can provide a deeper understanding of the knowledge and skills possessed by intimate partner violence specialists.

That knowledge is undeniably a matter of ethical dimensions, is demonstrated in the paper by Nikupeteri and Laitinen ( 2023 ), who explore and discuss methodological choices that are necessary for conducting ethically responsible research on parental stalking. They present their study, where they were prioritizing child-centred practice, fostering intergenerational dialogue, establishing trusting relationships with professionals, and valuing diverse knowledge and realities through a multivoice approach. They found that the multimethod qualitative approach they employed, facilitated meaningful dialogue and the construction of knowledge about parental stalking, allowing marginalized voices of children to be included in academic and professional discussions and advancing the rights of children affected by a parent’s stalking behaviour.

In conclusion, there has been a welcome increase in the quantity, quality and diversity of research exploring the varied dimensions of domestic violence and abuse. New methods and research designs have extended the ways in which we are able to better understand the many facets of such abuse, and to inform how we should respond. Alongside this growing methodological plurality and rigour, there has been a welcome engagement with how ethics and ethical frameworks, attuned to the particularities of the dynamics of gender-based violence, have been developed. These discussions rightly extend beyond the conduct of research to also incorporate who commissions, funds and benefits from research, and the ways in which research findings are used. Domestic violence and abuse is about the misuse of power, and researchers need to be mindful of how the research process itself does not become exploitative.

AbiNader, M. A., Graham, L. M. & Kafka, J. M. (2023). Examining intimate partner violence-related fatalities: past lessons and future directions using U.S. National Data. Journal of Family Violence . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-022-00487-2

Cook, E. A., Rowlands, J., Bracewell, K. et al. (2023). Parallels in practice: applying principles of research integrity and ethics in Domestic Violence Fatality Review (DVFR). Journal of Family Violence . https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00505-x

Cullen, O., Jenney, A., Shiels, L. et al. (2023). Integrating the Voices of Youth with Lived Experience as Coresearchers to Improve Research and Practice Approaches to Childhood Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00558-y

Dragiewicz, M., Woodlock, D., Easton, H. et al. (2023). “I’ll be Okay”: Survivors’ Perspectives on Participation in Domestic Violence Research. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00518-6

Giesbrecht, C.J., Dawson, M., Verhoek-Oftedahl, W. et al. (2023). Addressing Data Gaps: Implications for Preventing Domestic Homicide. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00532-8

Hester, M., Walker, SJ. & Myhill, A. (2023). The Measurement of Domestic Abuse – Redeveloping the Crime Survey for England and Wales. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00507-9

Kurdi, Z., Millar, A., Barter, C.A. et al. (2023). The Devil’s in the Detail: Implementation Fidelity in Evaluating a School-Based Prevention Programme for Children Under 12. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00549-z

McGregor, K., Taylor, B. & Oakley, L. (2023). Power, Participation, Payment and Platform: Ethical and Methodological Issues in Recruitment in Qualitative Domestic Abuse. Research Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00590-y

Larance, L.Y., Kertesz, M. (2023). Methodological and Ethical Considerations When Working Beyond the Victim-Offender Binary: A Brief Report on the Unintended Consequences of the C-ABI. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00584-w

Neubauer, L., Straw, I., Mariconti, E. et al. (2023). A Systematic Literature Review of the Use of Computational Text Analysis Methods in Intimate Partner Violence Research. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00517-7

Nikupeteri, A., Laitinen, M. (2023) Addressing Post-Separation Parental Stalking: a Multimethod Qualitative Approach to Producing Knowledge of Stalking in Children’s Lives. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00537-3

Nyklová, B., Moree, D. & Kubala, P. (2023). Who Gets heard/hurt in Gender-Based Domestic Violence Research: Comparing Ethical Concerns in Three Qualitative Research Designs. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00589-5

Robinson, S., Foley, K., Moore, T. et al. (2023). Prioritising Children and Young People with Disability in Research About Domestic and Family Violence: Methodological, Ethical and Pragmatic Reflections. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00496-9

Sánchez-Prada, A., Delgado-Álvarez, C., Bosch-Fiol, E. et al. (2023). Researching Intimate Partner Violence Against Women (IPVAW): Overcoming Gender Blindness by Improving Methodology in Compliance with Measurement Standards. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00577-9

Schucan Bird, K., Stokes, N., Tomlinson, M. et al. (2023). Ethically Driven and Methodologically Tailored: Setting the Agenda for Systematic Reviews in Domestic Violence and Abuse. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00541-7

Scott, K.L., Baker, L., Jenney, A. et al. (2023). Voices of Experience: Development of the Flourishing Practice Model of Capabilities of Intimate Partner Violence Specialists. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00566-y

Skafida, V., Feder, G. & Barter, C. (2023). Asking the Right Questions? A Critical Overview of Longitudinal Survey Data on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse Among Adults and Young People in the UK. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00501-1

Tracy, M., Chong, L.S., Strully, K. et al. (2023). A Systematic Review of Systems Science Approaches to Understand and Address Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. Journal of Family Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00578-8

Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland, Scottish Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid (2020). Research Integrity Framework on Domestic Violence and Abuse. Available at: https://womensaid.scot/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Research-Integrity-Framework-RIF-on-Domestic-Violence-and-Abuse-DVA-November-2020.pdf

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Sobočan, A.M., Leskošek, V. & Devaney, J. Methodological and Ethical Issues Related to the Study of Domestic Violence and Abuse. J Fam Viol 38 , 1009–1013 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-023-00592-w

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  • Published: 31 May 2024

Women escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing: an integrative review

  • Virginia Stulz   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0275-8531 1 ,
  • Lyn Francis   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9683-3688 2 ,
  • Anshu Naidu 3 &
  • Rebecca O’Reilly   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6693-5341 4  

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This integrative review summarises original research that explores women’s experiences of escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing.

Integrative review. A robust search strategy was conducted using the following databases: Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Cochrane, Medline and PubMed. All articles were assessed for quality using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tools (MMAT) scoring. Whittemore and Knafl’s (2005) five stage approach was used to analyse the primary literature related to women’s and stakeholders’ experiences of escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing.

A total of 41 articles were retrieved and 12 papers were included in this review (six qualitative, one quantitative and five mixed methods) that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Four overarching themes were identified: ‘Experiences of leaving domestic violence’, ‘Barriers to achieving safe housing’, ‘Facilitators to achieving safe housing’ and ‘The road to recovery’. The ‘Experiences of leaving domestic violence’ theme included two subthemes: ‘the losses’ and ‘ongoing contact with the perpetrator’. The ‘Barriers to achieving safe housing’ theme included three subthemes: ‘financial insecurity’, ‘being judged by others for leaving and service availability’. The ‘Facilitators to achieving safe housing’ theme included two sub-themes: ‘support, partnership, and collaboration between women and service providers’ and ‘feeling respected and heard’. The ‘Road to recovery’ theme included two sub-themes: ‘being a good mother’ and ‘empowerment after leaving domestic violence’.


This review has highlighted the need for service and health care providers to work together and collaborate effectively with the woman experiencing and escaping domestic violence, especially in rural and remote areas. This means giving women access to the most suitable educational resources and services that are appropriate for their unique situation. Tailoring support for women is crucial to enable women to achieve safe housing and to be able to live a safe life with their children, away from the perpetrator of the domestic violence.

Peer Review reports

Violence perpetrated towards women by current or previous intimate partners often leads to dislocation, homelessness, isolation and lack of support for the woman and, if a mother, her children. Domestic violence (DV) is violence that occurs between current or previous intimate partners in the form of physical and/or sexual violence, emotional abuse, or coercive control [ 1 ]. The term DV is used interchangeably with other terms such as intimate partner violence (IPV), abuse against women, domestic and family violence (D&FV). In relation to including ‘family violence’, this extends the context of the violence to between all family members, and not purely intimate partners [ 1 ]. To align with the aim of this paper, the term DV and/or IPV will be used throughout, with the exception of direct quotes.

Women and children are disproportionately affected by male-perpetrated violence [ 2 , 3 ]. Despite having government programs such as Staying Home Leaving Violence Program and national organisations to address domestic violence [ 4 , 5 , 6 ], government reports recognise that supporting women within their homes is not always possible. As DV impacts on women’s housing stability [ 7 ], rehoming women and children is a priority however, when rehoming women and their children, community connections and social support are crucial to consider.

A Domestic Violence Crises Service (DVCS) report, Staying Home after Domestic Violence, found that more than 37% (of 35 women whose cases were analysed) were unable to sustain long-term residency in their family homes following the end of the violent relationship. Over 50% of the women who were homeowners or private renters had lost their homes within 12 months of the separation [ 8 ]. Furthermore, due to the lack of affordable and safe accommodation many women and children remain in violent environments or resort to insecure and potentially unsafe accommodation to escape the violence [ 8 ].

DV is a primary contributor to illness, disability, and death for Australian women between the ages of 18–44 [ 9 ]. One woman is murdered by her current or former partner every week in Australia and this risk of extreme violence and homicide is higher for Indigenous Australian women [ 10 ]. Being in a relationship with a violent partner has detrimental impact on financial security [ 7 , 11 ], and mental health [ 12 ]. Moreover, DV reframes how women understand themselves and their identity negatively, decreasing their self-esteem and sense of agency [ 13 ].

Experiencing DV complicates a mother’s role and identity as a mother which intensifies the effects of violence on their lives and that of their children [ 14 ]. The perpetrator’s coercive behaviours can threaten the mother’s wellbeing and undermine her parenting ability and the relationship shared with her children [ 15 ]. There is no guarantee that leaving a violent partner will stop the violence [ 16 ]. In fact, for many women and children, it exacerbates the risk of harm [ 11 ]. The challenges of leaving a violent partner are compounded for mothers who also have to help children transition into a new life and deal with trauma [ 17 ]. Other than children, safety of their pets is another factor that prevents DV victims from leaving their homes to seek their own safety [ 18 ]. As pets are often seen as family members and survivors often view their pets as a form of support, separation is made more difficult [ 18 ]. Pets are often involved in DV situations and need to be considered in resources, programs and safety plans for women experiencing DV [ 19 ].

Health care practitioners have identified that they value woman-centred care when working with women who have experienced DV and these attributes included asking questions directly, responding holistically and supporting the woman’s choice. Health care practitioners have also identified that midwives are the most appropriate health providers to conduct screening for women experiencing DV and social workers are most suitable for providing a comprehensive response. They have identified support needs as working with a team, knowing their role when working with women experiencing DV and training and mentoring programs [ 19 ]. Adults and children experiencing DV have been able to access the “Orange Door” in Brimbank Melton in Victoria. The ‘Orange Door” is a partnership between non-government organisations, Aboriginal community services, Western Health and the Labour Government [ 20 ]. Additionally, the Family Violence Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Framework (MARAM) [ 21 ] in Victoria ensures services are effectively identifying, assessing and managing family violence risk. The aim of MARAM is to increase the wellbeing and safety of Victorians by ensuring services can effectively identify and manage DV risk [ 21 ]. The MARAM framework has also been evaluated recently and there is solid evidence that it has been broadly effective [ 22 ].

Transient accommodation may thus be required with a multi-service, wraparound approach that supports the woman and her children to seek alternate, safe and permanent housing, and promote recovery of holistic well-being. Collaboration between specialised DV services, police, child protection, social services, health professionals, mental health care, legal services, culturally specific services, and housing services is necessary in responding to the immediate crisis as well as providing follow up care in the post crisis stage [ 8 ]. Such services must work together to provide holistic, individualised and tailored support and service provision for each woman and child experiencing DV. There is much evidence to support that keeping women and children within their established community, and involving the community itself to provide a wraparound, multi-pronged approach to service delivery has multiple benefits. These include improving women’s and children’s social support and belongingness that ultimately result in improved mental health and reduced psychological distress; as well as increasing community awareness about DV and how to best support a known victim-survivor [ 23 , 24 , 25 , 26 ].

Economic abuse by perpetrators has been linked to economic hardship and women who have experienced high levels of emotional and physical abuse have also experienced increased economic hardship. It is important to support survivors to identify strategies for maintaining social supports and developing programs to provide tangible resources to decrease women’s material hardship experiences [ 27 ]. Financial control inducing financial insecurity is a form of domestic violence and causes more uncertainty about leaving a DV situation.

Aim of the integrative review

The aim of the integrative review was to explore women’s experiences of escaping DV and achieving safe housing.

To describe women’s experiences of escaping DV and achieving safe housing.

To explore barriers and facilitators to escaping DV and achieving safe housing, from the perspectives of women.

This study adopted a comprehensive literature search strategy and analysis of articles which met the inclusion criteria using the approach advocated by Whittemore and Knafl [ 28 ]. The six stages of this integrative review approach enabled a rigorous and comprehensive review incorporating the following: problem identification; literature search; data evaluation; data analysis and presentation of the studies’ characteristics and writing the final integrative review. Using the Whittemore and Knafl [ 28 ] approach we identified primary research articles which included six qualitative and four mixed methods studies.

Problem identification

DV reframes negatively how women understand themselves and their identity, decreasing their self-esteem and sense of agency [ 13 ]. Furthermore, experiencing DV, complicates a mother’s role and identity as a mother, which intensifies the effects of violence on their lives and that of their children [ 14 ]. Health care practitioners should be aware of how they can support women experiencing DV to safer housing and demonstrate ‘readiness’ in their roles to assist women in these situations. Understanding the support systems and processes of how women leave DV and IPV situations will contribute to this ‘readiness’ of health care practitioners working with women.

Literature search

Online databases searched included Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Cochrane, Medline, Pubmed and Scopus. Articles included peer-reviewed quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods journal articles that were published from 2011 to April 2024 in the English language. The Population Intervention Comparison Outcome (PICO) framework was used to determine correct search parameters. Prior to finalising the review, we conducted another search in November 2023, to identify additional papers published in 2022–2023, but there were no papers found. The population of interest included women, the intervention of interest was safe housing, there was no comparison group and the outcomes of interest included women’s experiences of escaping DV and achieving safe housing. Table 1 provides detail of the inclusion and exclusion criteria. An example of the search terms are shown in Table  2 .

Search outcome

Initial search results generated 41 records identified across all databases. We searched for the abstract and the title. After four duplicates were removed using the Endnote referencing system and manual checking list, 37 articles remained. A total of three articles were removed as they were published prior to 2011 and not in English, leaving 34 articles that were assessed for eligibility. Twenty-two articles were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria of women experiencing DV and seeking shelter in a safe house. In total, 12 articles (six qualitative, one quantitative and five mixed methods) remained in the final review. All included articles focused on the experiences of women leaving DV or IPV situations and seeking safe housing. This robust literature search strategy was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) flow diagram (see Fig.  1 ).

figure 1

Search strategy using PRISMA flow diagram

Data extraction and evaluation

Data from the 12 articles were extracted including: aim of the study, country, design and methods, sample, data analysis, findings, and the impact of women’s experience in accessing shelter after experiencing DV. All authors evaluated the articles using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tools (MMAT) [ 29 ] for the six qualitative, one quantitative, and five mixed methods studies (see Table  3 ).

Characteristics of the studies

A summary of the 12 articles that met the inclusion criteria is presented in Table  3 . Six of the articles were qualitative studies, one was quantitative, and five were mixed methods studies. The MMAT quality scores are identified in the table. Although this method does not use numerical scores to determine quality, it was agreed by the authors to use seven as the maximum total score in line with the two questions asked for all studies and five questions assessed for the qualitative and mixed methods studies. The MMAT scores were compared between three authors and consensus was achieved.

Integrative review analysis

Using the Whittemore and Knafl [ 28 ] steps we analysed 12 research articles which met the inclusion criteria. This included six qualitative, one quantitative, and five mixed methods studies. The first step of analysis involved becoming familiar with the data from the identified nine papers and this involved populating and dividing the articles’ content into separate qualitative and quantitative spreadsheets. This process involved tabulation of the studies to identify aims, participants, methods, design, data collection, analysis and findings or outcomes to provide a better understanding of the nuances of each of the articles. The second step of the analysis involved identification of initial codes that were reported by the authors of each study regarding the experiences of women leaving DV situations and seeking safe housing. The third step of the analysis involved populating relevant information from the articles under the coded headings that were compiled from the previous step. The fourth step involved reviewing themes and comparing and amalgamating the overlapping themes with all authors. This resulted in the fifth step of refining, recategorizing and naming the final overarching themes and subthemes and presenting an overall analysis. Some of the themes and sub-themes were named from the women’s words in the articles reviewed. The overarching themes and subthemes are identified in Table  4 .

Two of the 12 articles were led by Nnawulezi et al. [ 37 , 38 ] which were both mixed methods studies that used an exploratory sequential design. Seven of the articles were from the United States of America [ 32 , 34 , 37 , 38 , 39 , 40 , 41 ], two from Australia [ 33 , 35 ], one from Canada [ 31 ], one from the Netherlands [ 36 ] and one from Italy [ 30 ].

Experiences of leaving domestic violence

Experiences of leaving DV situations were addressed in nine of the included articles. Two sub-themes capture the women’s experiences. ‘ The losses ’ that women and their children experience when leaving DV situations are explored in the first sub-theme. This is followed by the sub-theme, ‘ongoing contact with the perpetrator’.

A number of losses for women leaving DV situations were addressed across nine of the included articles. A mixed methods study exploring safety-related trade-offs from the perspectives of 309 female survivors seeking safety through DV services in the USA revealed several losses occurred [ 39 ]. The six key losses identified were “loss of emotional and physical safety for self and loved ones; loss of social support; loss of financial stability; loss of home and rootedness; loss of control over parenting; and loss of freedom” [ 39 , 39 ]. Two of the studies [ 35 , 40 ] highlighted the loss of access to health services that women experienced due to conditions such as diabetes and mental health conditions. This loss came at the expense of their own health as they did not have time or could not afford medication and was coupled with a lack of mental health resources [ 35 , 40 ].

Seven of the articles highlighted the loss of home, community and rootedness and not being able to return to their own community, especially when the women came from isolated rural and regional areas. DV often resulted in women and children having to leave their family home, seeking refuge in women’s shelters [ 31 , 35 , 40 ] or residence in poor quality housing [ 35 , 40 ], where they continued to feel unsafe [ 32 , 40 , 41 ]. For some women and children, leaving the DV situation resulted in homelessness due to a lack of affordable housing options [ 31 , 32 , 34 , 35 , 39 , 41 ]. Alternatively, to attain safe, affordable housing, some DV survivors were forced to relocate, [ 35 , 40 ], experiencing a loss of belonging to a community [ 31 , 39 ].

Four articles identified that women often make geographical moves to seek safety and shelter and the complexities of this transition. Wood et al. [ 40 ] describe women relocating to a different state so they could be away from their abusive partner which subsequently meant being away from supportive networks and living in violent communities. Bonnycastle et al. [ 31 ] discussed the geographical remoteness of moving away from their First Nations community for safety. Similarly, Meyer and Stambe [ 33 ] report that moving into independent housing post-crisis accommodation proved difficult for women in regional settings. Cultural background further complicated women’s experiences [ 33 ]. Indigenous mothers in Meyer and Stambe’s [ 33 ] study further discussed experiences of being forced to consider substandard housing in the absence of available public housing and an inability to compete in a limited, regional housing market.

Thomas et al. [ 39 ] found that for women seeking safety it also meant relocating their home and community which led to an actual loss or a sense of loss in rootedness. This resulted in difficulties their children would face if “uprooted,” especially regarding friends and school. Overall, the use of phrases such as “having to start over” and “I have lost everything” suggest that the loss of home, relocating to another community and uprooting their children equals a complete overhaul of one’s life to get away from their abusive partner [ 39 ]. Women came to the realisation that they had to move with uncertainty about the future due to the fear of their children being hurt or abused [ 39 ].

Women in Bonnycastle et al.’s [ 31 ] study identified the importance of having your own space at home and that culture and language provide a sense of identity at home. Housing unavailability often led to overcrowded living conditions [ 31 , 40 ]. Similarly, Albanesi et al. [ 30 ] also found that co-housing with other women was difficult due to cultural and structural reasons such as a lack of private space and forced intimacy.

Ongoing contact with the perpetrator

Five of the articles identified ongoing contact with their perpetrator after leaving a DV situation being a major source of concern. Re-traumatisation, disrupted healing and ongoing manipulation by the perpetrator were experienced by many women and their children [ 33 , 35 , 39 ]. Six participants in a mixed methods study reported heightened fear and stress when required to communicate with their perpetrator for their children’s needs, and during exchange of children’s care where shared custody arrangements were in place [ 39 ]. Twenty-six participants in the same study experienced a loss of control over parenting capacity, as well as fear and worry for their children’s safety, where abusive partners sought and obtained partial or full custody of their children. One woman feared for her life, this fear continuing after she left the relationship but had to remain in close vicinity to the perpetrator [ 35 ]. Similarly, Albanesi et al. [ 30 ] found that women reported fear about being chased by the partner, because even if the partner was unaware about where they resided, they knew where their children went to school and where the woman worked.

Ongoing contact with their perpetrator was also an issue for women survivors who lived in a small and/or rural community or had no informal support beyond their violent partners family. Seeking safe housing in a women’s shelter within their community meant they remained near their perpetrator and his family, creating an inability to feel free of the fear of their partner. For some participants, their only option of secure housing was with their partners’ family, intensifying tensions with their violent partner and with other family members [ 31 ]. The experiences of women survivors in leaving DV situations are complex. Across both sub-themes in this section, securing safe living arrangements was of paramount importance to the successful recovery of women and children leaving DV situations.

Barriers to achieving safe housing

Eleven of the articles discussed the barriers to achieving safe housing when considering women’s experiences of escaping DV.

Financial insecurity

Eight of the 11 articles discussed women’s experiences with financial insecurity when leaving DV situations. In Clough et al.’s [ 32 ] study, stable, affordable housing was critical in increasing safety for women and their children and impacted their ability to leave and stay safe. Women needed financial assistance to find safe housing and this resonated with other studies’ findings [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 36 ]. Survivors faced multiple systemic or individual barriers to housing including unscrupulous landlords and poor credit history [ 32 ].

Financial insecurity was also an issue for women not having a job and their role in looking after children [ 30 , 33 , 34 , 39 , 40 ]. Thomas et al. [ 39 ] identified women’s loss of financial security due to the loss of the abusive partner’s income and the added cost of relocation and entering into a shelter. Wood et al. [ 40 ] identified that having the means to pay for permanent housing and time pressures was a constant anxiety. Two of the studies conducted by Meyer and Stambe [ 33 ] and Bonnycastle et al. [ 31 ] identified that experiences of financial disadvantage were worsened by the limited opportunities available in regional settings and the geographical remoteness of some areas. These same two studies [ 31 , 33 ] highlighted the absence of affordable housing particularly for First Nations People being more disadvantaged. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous single mothers faced discrimination from realtors and landlords due to having multiple children [ 33 ]. One Australian study highlighted the disadvantages of women on low incomes escaping DV as being unemployed meant that they have no chance of gaining a place in a share house [ 35 ].

Being judged by others for leaving

Three of the articles identified the loss of respect felt by women when leaving DV situations. Albanesi et al. [ 30 ] found that women often felt judged by other support services such as social workers and police. Similarly, Nnawulezi et al. [ 38 ] showed that staff in their study agreed that many other formal helping systems for women experiencing DV disrespected, policed, and discriminated against survivors. Participants from two research studies shared their feelings of being re-victimised or feeling judged and blamed by services that were meant to support them [ 30 , 32 ]. Qualitative data from a mixed methods study in the USA alluded to similar barriers, often created by services with obstructive screening policies [ 38 ].

Service availability

Four of the articles identified the lack of service availability that contributed to their vulnerability. Bonnycastle et al. [ 31 ] also identified that women felt unsupported by formal supports (notably First Nation or chief and members of council, law enforcement, and the child welfare system). This could possibly be explained by service providers working in housing, social service or DV agencies being under-resourced, uninformed or unable to respond effectively to the safety and housing needs of survivors. Subsequently, this results in women having to visit multiple offices and with each visit being required to repeat and validate their history of DV [ 32 ]. This often results in women finding it difficult to establish trust with services [ 30 , 39 ].

Bonnycastle et al. [ 31 ], report that informal support from family and friends was not always a viable option, and that seeking formal support was fraught with difficulty. In the same study, some participants revealed that there were little to no formal DV services within their home communities, and where DV services were available, they were often understaffed. A further barrier relevant to feeling judged was that accessing formal support services was only available after an episode of violence, and was governed by restrictive policies based on cultural values and beliefs, nepotism [ 31 ], and service bureaucracy [ 30 , 32 ].

Facilitators to achieving safe housing

Ten of the articles discussed the facilitators to achieving safe housing when considering women’s experiences of escaping DV.

Support, partnership and collaboration between women and service providers

Formal support, including safe housing, resources, psychological support and informal support that included family and friends,’ were an important road to recovery for women when escaping DV and achieving safe, sustainable housing. Albanesi et al. [ 30 ] identified formal supports as essential, to ensure housing solutions that led to safe housing and protection from the perpetrator. This formal support also included information about resources which led to increased access to legal support and services. Women were then ready to increase their skills which included self-actualisation [ 30 ]. Participants in Wood et al.’s [ 40 ] study participants also overcame housing barriers by paying back debt, and accessing legal help. For participants in Sullivan et al.’s [ 41 ] study, survivors who received support from the DV Housing model, reported significant improvements in housing stability in comparison to those receiving standard care. Similarly, Clough et al. [ 32 ], Bonnycastle et al. [ 31 ], and Jonker et al. [ 36 ] identified that stable, affordable housing was critical in increasing safety for the survivor and her children, and women needed financial assistance to find safe housing. Four of the studies also identified that professionals ought to help with financial matters as well as legal procedures [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 36 ].

The importance of informal support was highlighted in three of the studies [ 30 , 31 , 39 ] as provided by family, friends and colleagues that could assist with practical and financial issues such as loans and physical, emotional, and social support from family and friends. The normalisation of these supportive relationships provided the opportunity for intimacy and positive experiences [ 30 ]. When women left their abusive partner, informal support systems were affected by their safety-seeking efforts resulting in women losing their support systems [ 30 , 39 ].

Numerous papers reported findings of support from service providers as an essential facilitator to accessing safe housing for women and children leaving IPV situations. Support in linking women to other supportive agencies, finding suitable accommodation and coordination of care and assistance with work, and learning activities were considered important facilitators [ 30 , 31 , 36 ]. Professional support for assisting with establishing child care arrangements was also reported as beneficial [ 36 ]. Such formalised support and services were reported as best provided as a multi-pronged, collaborative approach [ 36 ]. Women who received support from housing agencies also reported experiencing less violence and economic abuse than those receiving standard care [ 41 ].

Women felt that a safe home “was more than just four walls and a roof “. Home was identified as a connection to family, community, culture, and safety. Culture and language were viewed as providing a sense of identity and belonging. Being able to secure a safe home within their community served to provide the women and children with their own space as well as rootedness. This key finding is emphasised by another study which built on two previous studies by the same authors. The earlier studies first interviewed women about their practical and emotional support needs during their stay in a women’s refuge, and then again six months later in their new lives in independent housing. The most recent study shared findings of re-interviewing 12 women five to seven years later, who were participants in at least one of the previous studies. The participants revealed that when at home, women identified the importance of having their own space at home [ 31 ].

Seven of the studies in this integrative review [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 34 , 36 , 37 , 38 ] highlighted the importance of partnership and collaboration between women and service providers in addressing DV towards women. As important to establishing supportive partnerships between women survivors and service providers were low-barrier and voluntary service policies. Three studies identified organisations that had low-barrier and voluntary service policies. Such policies resulted in a smoother transition for DV survivors into affordable and safe housing [ 34 , 37 , 38 ]. Low-barrier policies are defined as a “compilation of specific policies designed to reduce the eligibility requirements that can be barriers to accessing services” [ 37 , 37 , 38 ].

Trust was also noted as essential as a facilitator of partnership and collaboration between the DV survivor and service provider. Five of the included papers highlighted that trust between the woman and the service provider was essential in facilitating safe housing and a successful, secure future. Trust was reported as established through procedural flexibility in decision making about services, and the supports and needs of the woman and her children [ 31 , 32 , 34 , 36 , 38 ]. Further, the mutual establishment of goals, with a ‘one step at a time’ approach, was reported as essential to the facilitation of women’s trust in the formal services [ 30 , 36 ].

Trust between the women and children and IPV supporting services was a two-way process. All participants in Nnawulezi et al.’s [ 37 ] study noted that it was as equally important for the service provider to trust the women survivors as it was for the women to trust the service provider. The success in the provision of implementing low-barrier and voluntary service policies mutually trusting relationships was an integral part to implementing these core activities between the women survivors and the service provider [ 38 ].

Feeling respected and heard

Five of the studies in the integrative review [ 30 , 32 , 34 , 36 , 37 ] identified the importance of feeling respected and heard in their journey to recovery from leaving a DV situation. Feeling respected and heard by other DV survivors as well as service providers were important facilitators in accessing DV services and securing safe housing. Women who were able to build positive relationships with other women who had similar experiences reported feeling respected and heard. These relationships improved psychological wellbeing and resulted in increased self-efficacy and the forming of positive relationships [ 30 ]. Two studies reported that these factors were instrumental in achieving stability, including safe housing [ 30 , 32 ]. Participants in Clough et al.’s [ 32 ] study describe feeling respected and validated by well-trained, compassionate DV workers. Positive experiences with DV services were noted as non-judgemental emotional support; protection and safe shelter; development of the women’s awareness of the violence as not their fault; and building of the women’s self-esteem, self-awareness, empowerment and overall well-being [ 30 ].

The importance of engaging in empathetic and nonjudgmental listening, highly relevant to feeling respected and being heard was highlighted in four of the studies. Listening deeply to survivors’ needs was an imperative part of practice when implementing policies. Participating service providers in these studies highlighted that listening to, and hearing, women survivors’ reported needs ensured that organisational programming aligned to what survivors wanted throughout safe housing service provision [ 32 , 34 , 36 , 37 ].

Road to recovery

Nine of the articles examined the road to recovery when contemplating women’s experiences of escaping DV to attain safe housing. Within this theme, ‘being a good mother’ and ‘empowerment after leaving DV’ were deemed as essential to the recovery of the women and her children, and closely linked to securing safe housing.

Being a good mother

The importance, pressure, and responsibility experienced by DV survivors to be a ‘ good mother’ and able to parent their children with safety on their road to recovery was a sub-theme across seven articles [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 39 ]. Being a mother added an additional layer of complexity as their needs to improve their currently unsafe situation, increase their skills to secure economic independence, develop self-esteem and improve overall psychological well-being were inextricably linked to providing safety for their children, and seeing themselves as ‘good mothers’ [ 30 , 31 , 33 , 34 ]. Participating mothers in a mixed methods study reported the challenges of juggling finances, time, and ability to care for their children while seeking safety from their perpetrator [ 39 ]. An Australian study reported on the experiences of nine Indigenous and eight non-Indigenous mothers. Their experiences included feeling the responsibility of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their children. For Indigenous participants, their identity as a ‘good mother’ was further challenged by social constructs of overcrowded housing, higher rates of family violence, and greater child protection interventions in comparison to their non-Indigenous counterparts [ 33 ].

Three articles discuss the importance of being able to protect, and mother children after leaving DV situations. Safety and suitable childcare for children was found to be the second highest priority in Jonker et al.’s [ 36 ] study which identified 11 priorities for women leaving DV situations. Sullivan et al.’s [ 34 ] study, found that grants including rental assistance and payment for bills increased women’s ability to parent their children and get back on track. Clough et al.’s [ 32 ] study identified that women used whatever was available to ensure a safe environment for their children whilst looking for stable housing. Women used and developed creative strategies to manage complex situations to reduce levels of trauma and stress for their children, such as couch surfing and working with multiple service providers to obtain funds [ 32 ].

Empowerment after leaving DV

Four research studies [ 30 , 36 , 37 , 38 ] identified the impact and importance of empowerment for women after leaving DV situations and finding housing. Nnawulezi et al. [ 37 , 38 ] showed that survivors who had greater autonomy in a shelter program demonstrated higher levels of empowerment. Two other studies concurred, reporting that after immediate needs for support, security and accommodation were met, women were empowered through skills and knowledge acquisition and self-efficacy [ 30 , 36 ]. Jonker et al.’s [ 36 ] study showed empowerment was the seventh highest need for women after leaving a violent relationship and finding safe housing.

The integrative review aimed to explore women’s experiences of escaping DV and achieving safe housing. There were key facilitators for DV survivors in leaving DV situations and securing safe housing. This discussion will focus on the key barrier of ‘The consequences of leaving DV situations’ as well as key facilitators, captured as ‘Being connected to support mechanisms’, and ‘Empowering women regaining their lives with their children’. All of these factors can influence the woman’s decision, and capacity, to leave the violent relationship and secure safe housing.

The consequences of leaving DV situations

Key consequences identified by this review were the increased vulnerability of women with children, the long-term effects of the ongoing contact with the ex-partners, and financial insecurity. Two-thirds of the articles in this review revealed that women experience many losses because of leaving DV relationships and this may include emotional, physical, financial constraints and loss of control over continuing relationships with perpetrators that involve their children [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 39 , 40 ]. Women have been shown to experience a heavy sense of loss when subjected to DV and unable to control emotions. Women have experienced psychological problems caused by the long-term DV from their partners [ 42 ]. Similarly, Māori women in Wilson et al.’s [ 43 ] study reported a loss of control over their continuing relationships with their partners and their children as a barrier to leaving a violent relationship. They recognised the control exerted by their partners exacerbated threats to the women’s life and safety and took a toll on the women’s psychological and emotional wellbeing, diminishing their sense of self-confidence [ 43 ]. Another study [ 44 ] in Iran, has identified that women who have been subjected to violence by their husbands faced challenges that related to their psychological health. Women have also been afraid of the perpetrator’s reaction if they find out about her disclosure about DV to health care practitioners [ 45 ].

Challenges have been identified in finding accommodation for women experiencing DV due to staff shortages and the availability of appropriate resources and DV services. These situations are often exacerbated by isolation, long distances, and lack of transport for women experiencing DV [ 46 ]. As identified in this paper, some included studies linked self-confidence and autonomy to women IPV survivor’s success in securing safety and stability, including safe housing, for themselves and their children [ 30 , 36 , 37 , 38 ].

This integrative review also highlighted the loss of belonging, and rootedness that First Nation peoples experienced due to leaving their tight-knit communities [ 31 , 33 ]. Similarly, Māori women in Wilson et al.’s [ 43 ] study who decided to leave were faced with challenges leaving their homes, due to the isolation from friends and families. This resulted in women experiencing vulnerability when unsuccessful in asking for help from friends, family or agencies [ 43 ]. The importance of culturally safe, responsive and trauma-informed care has been highlighted to ensure that the needs of First Nations people experiencing DV are met [ 47 ].

Women leaving DV situations often experience continuing contact with the perpetrator due to their children’s ongoing custody arrangements and concern for their children’s safety when in the care of their abuser [ 30 , 31 , 33 , 35 , 39 ]. Supporting this as a key barrier to leaving IPV relationships for safer living options, participants in a Canadian qualitative study revealed apprehensions about facing legal custody processes, and fear of shared custody where they had witnessed the perpetration of violence towards their children [ 48 ]. Studies that have explored the use of the legal system, including child custody processes by abused women who have children have reported that children can prevent women from pursuing legal prosecution of their perpetrator, due to concerns about their children’s safety and wellbeing [ 49 , 50 ]. Further research is needed on how such barriers can be navigated and women who are mothers supported in providing safety for themselves and their children where the IPV perpetrator is allowed parental custody.

Financial insecurity can result from women experiencing DV situations [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 39 , 40 ]. Housing instability and exposure to DV also compromises women’s sexual and reproductive health by restricting contraceptive access that may result in unintended pregnancy [ 51 ]. Grace et al. [ 51 ] found in their study that the majority of participants did not use contraception, however, this may have been due to financial instability as one in five women was unable to afford health care and all experienced housing instability as a result of leaving a DV situation.

One study [ 52 ] found that the longer the woman remained in the relationship, the finances were more tied up between the partners. Another study [ 53 ] found that women were financially dependent and did not earn their own income. Despite the abuse, some women were thankful for their partners’ support throughout the years [ 53 ]. Therefore, making the public and health professionals aware of legal advice and financial support that is available from domestic violence services is crucial in overcoming this barrier [ 52 ]. Learning income-generating skills is important to reduce economic dependence of the woman on her partner and increases maternal financial independence [ 54 ].

This integrative review also identified women feeling unsupported by formal supports and being judged by others for leaving the DV situation [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 38 , 39 ]. Women have also feared about being judged for not leaving a DV relationship, and not wanting to be stigmatized from others including health care practitioners [ 45 ]. Similarly, a systematic review [ 55 ] found that victims experiencing DV feared being judged by their friends, family, neighbours and health care providers as a barrier to disclosing that they were in that situation. Carthy and Taylor [ 52 ] also found the social stigma of not wanting to disclose DV created an additional barrier to seeking help. This was exacerbated by societal pressures, and that others would think she should have known better than to put up with the abuse [ 52 ].

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation for some women with organisations having to implement social distancing and reducing the number of women able to access shelters [ 56 , 57 ]. This occurred in tandem with an increase in the number of women experiencing DV during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdown conditions [ 58 ]. Therefore, lockdown and social distancing requirements of COVID-19 led to greater difficulty for women accessing DV services, including safe housing options [ 57 , 59 , 60 ]. While some DV agencies had to suspend their services altogether, other DV organisations were able to access additional government support for homelessness and housing services [ 61 ]. However, the challenge for women being able to access such services was hampered by lockdown creating an environment where many DV victims were exposed to 24-h surveillance by their perpetrators. This is further heightened by this paper’s [ 61 ] findings that a lack of support of DV services felt by women attempting to leave violent relationships existed pre-Covid pandemic restrictions, and continues post pandemic restrictions. Further, the United Nations (UN) Women Australia [ 62 ] identified that the COVID-19 pandemic not only resulted in increased levels of DV, but also substantial losses in employment and reductions in unpaid care work for women across the globe. This resonates with the identified barrier in this review of financial instability preventing women from leaving violent relationships and secure safe housing options.

There have been many lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those for better planning in all countries for crisis events. For DV and ensuring women’s and children’s safety, some suggestions have been to ensure resilience in infrastructure and supportive IPV services to survive and thrive during crisis, embracing digital technologies, and increasing capabilities to gather real time data and conduct rapid assessments on gender impacts in crisis situations [ 62 ]. One study [ 63 ] identified insights into ways in which practitioners pivoted services during COVID-19, to respond remotely to women experiencing DV and the challenges of undertaking safe planning and risk assessment when working on video, and phone-based delivery. These align with the key facilitators identified in this review as being connected to support mechanisms and women regaining their lives with their children after leaving an DV situation.

Being connected to support mechanisms

Formal and informal supports were extremely important findings in this integrative review to facilitate women’s experiences of leaving DV relationships to achieve safe housing [ 30 , 31 , 32 , 36 , 37 , 39 , 40 , 41 ]. Informal supports such as family and friends need to know what formal services are available and DV organizations should distribute information about hours of operation and who to contact so that referrals can be completed in a timely manner [ 64 ]. The importance of service providers being able to provide ongoing training about DV to workforce members and education to all people about how to respond and recognize DV cannot be emphasised enough [ 64 , 65 ]. Health care systems could empower women by improving the capacity of health care providers in providing information to women about DV, especially legal issues, and supportive referral centres [ 54 ]. A recent Cochrane review [ 66 ] found that healthcare providers are ready to respond to learn about training about intimate partner violence towards women. One study [ 67 ] in India has indicated that healthcare providers demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge, preparedness and attitudes following training in responding to women’s needs escaping DV, as well as supportive practices including talking to women and validating their needs. This level of training also included integration of system-level changes that involved clinicians to deliver the training who had managerial responsibilities that ensured mentorship [ 67 ]. Women experiencing DV often need practical support such as social security benefit, housing, parenting support and finding employment and women value advocacy support as helpful in finding a house or a job [ 68 ].

In light of the previous reference about rural challenges in organizing accommodation for women due to lack of appropriate and services [ 46 ], future training could be targeted to rural areas to provide opportunities to co-train with local services that could strengthen integration, collaboration and mutual understanding. Specifically, maternal child and family health nurses are best placed to deliver care for women experiencing DV. However, greater support is required for sustainable nurse DV work, especially rural nurses who experience greater practice barriers [ 65 ]. Despite these barriers, relationship building is sometimes easier in regional and rural areas that already have existing connections with communities [ 46 ]. Similarly, Māori women in Wilson et al.’s [ 43 ] study found the support and strength of others enabled them to tolerate difficulties in leaving their violent relationships.

One systematic review [ 69 ] has shown how DV survivors benefited from support from external agencies including employment opportunities, legal aid and tangible resources such as clothing vouchers. One other helpful resource included educational information about DV and abusive relationships [ 69 ]. Enhanced collaboration between services may ensure that a culturally responsive approach may strengthen partnerships and rely less on individuals’ work practices to enhance women and childrens’ safety and wellbeing [ 70 ]. Practitioners have identified the importance of collaborating with internal team members of their organisations as well as specialist professionals external to their team, as these collaborations provide support, comfort, and specialist knowledge about social sector services and abuse. Health practitioners have highlighted how other team members have provided emotional support and inspiration to address DV [ 71 ].

In Canada, service providers and program staff have previously noted the importance of partnerships between their own service and other aspects of the system in easing referral processes. This resulted in pregnant women experiencing substance abuse being more likely to access the correct services and experience reduced service fragmentation. Sharing of program information within this system enabled information to be shared and service providers to become familiar with each other’s roles and develop trusting relationships [ 72 ]. Another review has highlighted the importance of working locally with service providers to ensure programs are contextually aligned and interventions are appropriate [ 73 ].

In Australia, for women experiencing DV in Aboriginal families, community partnerships amongst service providers have been identified to enable cross-agency work in a culturally safe environment, helping access to housing and programs for health and wellbeing. Referral pathways to other trusted service and community providers alleviates the shame for Aboriginal women experiencing DV [ 47 ]. Similarly, half of the women experiencing DV in Prosman et al.’s [ 68 ] study reported the importance of expressing themselves in their culture and language helped them to address barriers to source support more easily. Culturally sensitive support enabled them to accept help and share their sorrows more easily. Speaking in their own foreign language enhanced the bonding between the mentor mothers and the abused women [ 68 ].

One systematic review has highlighted the need to create a supportive environment for pregnant women experiencing DV [ 74 ]. Another qualitative metasynthesis [ 71 ] has shown that clinicians see their role as the most appropriate for responding to women experiencing DV as they are able to develop trusting relationships and talk to women over a period of time. They recognised continuity of care as an important component of forming strong relationships with women and being able to respond to DV [ 71 ].

Empowering women regaining their lives with their children

One study [ 75 ] showed that women escaping DV enabled them to refocus on the child’s needs. Even though mothers and children may have endured undermining of DV over many years, positive perceptions have been demonstrated and this is testimony to resilience of these relationships. Health care providers should build on these relationships when working with women and children and create spaces to work together [ 75 ]. Empowering couples by improving couple’s life skills, and economic empowerment could reduce DV, especially during pregnancy [ 54 ].

Māori women in Wilson et al.’s [ 43 ] study found strength in their own values and beliefs. Staying strong for these Māori women experiencing DV provided a platform for reviving and healing their well-being [ 43 ]. In Sapkota et al.’s [ 74 ] review, the main component of interventions included mentoring and supportive counselling that aimed to empower women in their flight from DV. Interventions were targeted around empowerment and assisting women to disclose their experiences of abuse as well as identifying the best resources to find a solution that was most suitable with her situation. Interventions should seek to provide services that are tailored to meet the woman’s individual circumstances and needs [ 74 ].


We appreciate that the included studies show a diverse range of contexts of DV and IPV globally and that all of the countries represented in this integrative review may view this topic differently. Some of the studies included participants from Indigenous backgrounds (Australia and Canada) and regional areas (Australia). These studies may not be representative or generalizable to other areas of these countries.

This review has highlighted the need for service and health care providers to work together and collaborate effectively with the woman experiencing and escaping DV. This means being able to receive training and education to provide her access to the most suitable educational resources and services that are most suitable for her situation. Providing women support, encouragement and counselling who are experiencing DV will facilitate their path towards recovery to achieve safe housing.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to this being an integrative review and data were not collected. The literature reviewed is displayed in a table within the manuscript.

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Stulz, V., Francis, L., Naidu, A. et al. Women escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing: an integrative review. BMC Women's Health 24 , 314 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-024-03143-7

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-024-03143-7

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Research Topics on Domestic Violence

good research questions on domestic abuse

  • Why Should Domestic Violence Be Studied?
  • What Does Domestic Violence Theory Explains?
  • What Distinguishes Domestic Violence from IPV?
  • Which Age Group Is Most Affected by Domestic Violence?
  • At What Point Does Domestic Abuse Become the Norm?
  • How Do American and Other Cultures Address the Issue of Domestic Violence?
  • What Are the Three Phases in the Domestic Violence Cycle?
  • What Explanations Exist for Domestic Violence?
  • How Many Fatalities Are Resultant from Domestic Violence?
  • When Did Domestic Violence Get Its First Definition?
  • What Are Some Ways to Prevent Domestic Violence?
  • How Do Gender, Race, and Class Affect Domestic Violence?
  • Why Do Abuse Victims Occasionally Keep Quiet?
  • What Mental Effects Does Domestic Violence Have?
  • Is Domestic Violence Frequently Associated with Mental Illness?
  • What Emotional Effects Does Domestic Violence Have on a Person?
  • What Cognitive Effects Does Domestic Violence Have on Children?
  • Why Should Employers Take Domestic Violence Seriously?
  • What Causes Domestic Violence, Exactly?
  • Which Nation Experiences Domestic Violence?
  • What Impact Does Domestic Violence Have on Victims’ Lives?
  • What Could Be the Causes and Symptoms of Domestic Violence?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Relate to Socioeconomic Status?
  • How Does Domestic Violence Affect the Australian Criminal Justice System?
  • What Role Does Culture Play in Domestic Abuse in the UK?
  • What Does an Abuser’s Psychology Look Like?
  • How Are Police Addressing Domestic Violence?
  • What Exactly Is Domestic Violence According to the Government?
  • Which Industry Has the Highest Domestic Violence Rate?
  • How Much Domestic Violence Is Related to Alcohol?

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Hot Topics: Domestic Violence

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What's the Issue?

Domestic violence affects millions of Americans and people around the world. It creates unsafe homes, toxic relationships, and can severely harm the victims who endure the violence. Whether you are interested in learning more about this topic, finding help and resources for yourself or your friends, or conducting academic research, this guide will point you to interesting and relevant sources.

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If you're just starting to learn about domestic violence, try these resources to find out what it involves, who's affected, and what's happening around the country and the world.

  • CQ Researcher: Domestic Violence Provides in-depth article on many high-interest topics, with historical and current information, and resources to continue your research.
  • VAWNet (National Resource Center on Domestic Violence) Large collection of reports on almost every facet of violence against women, including a section on international issues.
  • Maine Coalition against Sexual Assault (MECASA) Provides training for service providers that deal with sexual assault cases in the state of Maine. Research page has large list of research topics and statistics.

good research questions on domestic abuse

  • Google News: Domestic Violence
  • MedLine Plus: Domestic Violence Hosted by the National Library of Medicine, a roundup of the latest news, reports and articles.
  • World Health Organization: Violence against Women Information and reports by WHO on various topics.
  • US Department of Justice: Violence against Women: Reports to Congress Statistical and analytic reports submitted to Congress from this office.
  • CDC: Sexual Violence The CDC has many reports, statistics, and analysis of various forms of sexual and domestic violence.
  • UMaine Title IX Student Services
  • University of Maine Counseling Center
  • Rape Response Services Provides hotlines, help groups, and advocacy for Piscataquis and Penobscot county in Maine.
  • Partners for Peace Located in Maine, Partners for Peace provides shelter for women and children, a hotline, advocacy and legal services.
  • DomesticShelters.org Find available shelters and help anywhere in the nation.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline Offers hotline and advocacy services.
  • Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) Offers hotline, advocacy and training as well as a wealth of information on how to recognize and end domestic violence (including elder abuse and teen dating violence).

good research questions on domestic abuse

  • Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse
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  • written with oral follow-up or
  • Different patients may respond better to different approaches.
  • Make sure to ask in a private environment and do not use family or friends as interpreters. 
  • See ethics and privacy section before you start discussion. 
  • Patients highly value compassion and the quality of being non-judgemental

Written questions Oral questions Asking indirectly Framing the question – this sets the stage for asking, so that the patient doesn’t feel embarrassed that you singled her out to ask Asking directly SAFE questions – a series of sequential questions

Written questions

Written questions are more efficient for your time, but, realizing that many patients with abuse issues will check “no”, please always add:

“I see that you have checked “no” about questions relating to feeling safe with your partner. Do you have any other questions about this issue? (No.) I just want you to know that if anything like this ever does come up, this is a safe place to talk about it and get help.”

For written questions, you can use a combination of the questions under oral questions (the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research suggests you ask at least three questions), or see Resources for a list of written screening instruments.

Oral questions

Asking indirectly.

  • How are things going at home?
  • What about stress levels?  How are things going at work?  At home?
  • How do you feel about the relationships in your life?
  • How does your partner treat you?
  • Are you having any problems with your partner?

Framing the question

  • Because unfortunately violence is so common in our society, I have started asking all of my patients about it.
  • Because domestic violence has so many effects on health, I now ask all my patients about it.
  • From past experience with other patients, I’m concerned that some of your medical problems may be the result of someone hurting you.  Is that happening?
  • I don’t know if this is a problem for you, but many of my patients are dealing with abusive relationships.  Some are too afraid or uncomfortable to bring it up themselves, so I’ve started asking about it routinely.
  • Violence affects many families. Violence in the home may result in physical and emotional problems for you and your child. We are offering services to anyone who may be concerned about violence in their home.

Asking directly

  • Are you afraid of your partner?  Do you feel you are in danger?
  • You mentioned your partner’s problem with temper/stress/drinking.  When that happens, has he ever threatened or hurt you?
  • Every couple fights at times – what are your fights like at home?  Do the fights ever become physical?
  • Have you been hit or scared since the last time I saw you?
  • Has anyone at home hit you or tried to injure you in any way?
  • What kinds of experiences with violence have you had in your life?
  • Do you feel controlled or isolated by your partner?
  • Does your partner ever try to control you by threatening to hurt you or your family?
  • Has anyone close to you ever threatened or hurt you?
  • Does your partner ever hit, kick, hurt or threaten you?
  • Have you ever been slapped, pushed or shoved by your partner?
  • Have you ever been touched in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?
  • Has anyone ever made you to do something sexual when you did not want to?
  • Has your partner ever refused to practice safe sex?

SAFE Questions (oral, add sequentially as needed) Ashur M. Asking About Domestic Violence: SAFE Questions. JAMA.1993;269(18):2367 SAFE Questions

  • What stresses do you experience in your relationships?
  • Do you feel safe in your relationship?
  • people in relationships sometimes fight.  What happens when you and your partner disagree?
  • Have there been situations in your relationship where you have felt afraid?
  • Have you been physically hurt or threatened by your partner?
  • Has your partner forced you to engage in sexual activities that you didn’t want?
  • Are your friends and family aware of what is going on?
  • Do you have a safe place to go in an emergency?


Child Abuse

Elder Abuse

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159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics

🏆 best essay topics on domestic violence, ✍️ domestic violence essay topics for college, 👍 good domestic violence research topics & essay examples, 🌶️ hot domestic violence ideas to write about, 🎓 most interesting domestic violence research titles, ❓ domestic violence research questions.

  • Domestic Violence and Its Environmental Influences
  • Domestic Violence, Consequences and Solutions
  • Legislation to Stop Domestic Violence Against Women
  • Effects of Domestic Violence on Children and Youth
  • Domestic Violence in “Othello” by W. Shakespeare
  • Feminism and Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence Against Women in India
  • Impact of Domestic Violence on Society Domestic violence takes place mainly among married couples, ex-couples, who those who are still dating or cohabiting.
  • Domestic Violence: Justification Is Unacceptable Domestic violence affects all segments of society, but women and children. In the absence of law enforcement oversight, domestic violence continues to increase.
  • Domestic Violence: Causes and Effects Domestic violence disrupts regular patterns of communication and provides children with behavior models that ruin relationships and suggest the role of an abuser or a victim.
  • Domestic Violence against Women: Problem Solutions Domestic violence against women is one of the most common social problems that many societies across the world face in modern society.
  • Domestic Violence Issue in Modern Society Neutralization theory presents freedom in a relationship, condemns deviant behaviors and aims to eliminate oppressive cultures and safeguard ethical human activities.
  • Domestic Violence in the Modern Society Domestic violence is an acute and prevalent problem in society which requires research and effective solutions. The incidence of domestic violence is increasing exponentially.
  • Domestic Violence: The American Psychological Association The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a set of rules that describe different components of scientific writing.
  • Domestic Violence in Nursing Despite legal repercussions and the established support systems, a large share of victims avoids reporting incidents of domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence Forms: Cases Analysis In the cases described in the current research paper, an elderly woman and a six-year-old girl endured several forms of domestic violence.
  • The Impact of Domestic Violence on Victims’ Quality of Life Domestic violence (DV) is currently one of the major public health concerns that need to be discussed and analyzed.
  • Environmental Influences of Domestic Violence and Potential Interventions This paper propose a study on what are the potentials drivers for the increasing rates of domestic violence, and how can different social and healthcare institutions intervene.
  • Domestic Violence and Feminism in Bell Hooks’ Theory The main purpose of this paper is to summarize and assess the ideas of hooks’ theory regarding domestic violence.
  • Alcohol and Its Effects on Domestic Violence Alcohol was invented as a beverage drink just like the others, such as soda and juice. Of late, alcohol has been abused because people are consuming it excessively.
  • Causes and Consequences of Domestic Violence This literature review aims to discuss the scope of the problem, mention previous findings from academic literature, and assess the available information on the issue of violence.
  • The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Cultural Norms The topic of domestic violence was a natural choice for me, as I have witnessed the results of domestic violence in my work and have done a lot of research on the topic already.
  • The Problem of Domestic Violence in Modern Society The unwillingness to report instances of domestic abuse leads to a steep rise in the intensity of violence and the negative experiences that victims suffer.
  • The Root Cause of Domestic Violence Domestic violence had great implications on the physical and mental health of the victim. There are many attempts that have been put in place to deal with domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence Effects – Psychology This paper seeks to examine the principles of critical thought in relation to domestic violence. It considers the importance of ethics and moral reasoning.
  • Projects or Stop Violence Programs: Domestic Violence The violence mainly happens between the families, dating, cohabitation, marriages, as well as intimate relationship.
  • Reducing Domestic Violence: Family Law The current paper states that domestic violence and abuse present a substantial public health problem for different societies worldwide.
  • Violence Against Women: Annotated Bibliography Women who earn more than their spouses have a lower chance of experiencing violence and abuse in their marriages.
  • Domestic Violence: Prevalence, Types, and Risk Factors Domestic violence may be experienced by a variety of people regardless of age, sex, gender or any of the other numerous factors that might play a role in its manifestation.
  • Domestic Violence Against South Asian Women This research essay aims to analyze the concept of domestic violence against South Asian women, its premises, and its impact on modern women’s lives.
  • Domestic Violence and COVID-19 Connection This paper aims to recognize the connection between domestic violence and COVID-19 and unmask the possible cause of the rapid growth of violence issues in marriages.
  • Societal and Gender Construction Affecting Incidents of Domestic Violence The paper intends to explore how societal and gender construction can affect the incidences of domestic violence.
  • Protective Orders and Domestic Violence Review The article provides a vivid introduction with discussion in the current status of the legal status of prevention of family violence.
  • Revealing Marital Rape as Domestic Violence Marital rape entails sexual action with one’s partner devoid of his or her consent. Failure to get consent is the fundamental component that results in the involvement in violence.
  • How Non-Profits Address Domestic Violence Both law enforcement agencies and organizations focusing on public health can contribute to the action plan of addressing domestic abuse.
  • Domestic Violence: Analysis and Evaluation of Articles This paper evaluates peer-reviewed articles that touch on the subject of domestic violence, and addresses ethical issues related to the use of secondary data.
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Domestic Violence It is important to note that domestic violence can be discussed as aggressive acts of the physical, psychological, or sexual nature against any family member.
  • Effects Of Domestic Violence on Children According to this paper, a child is anyone below the age of eighteen, and it aims at discussing the effects of domestic violence on these children.
  • Defining Domestic Violence Reasons – Family Law The social phenomenon of domestic violence has given rise to scholarly debates concerning its main causes and consequently the methods for handling the issue.
  • Domestic Violence with Disabilities Domestic violence is a kind of act that happens when a member of the family or ex partner tries to harm the other by dominating them physically or psychologically.
  • Female Victimization and Domestic Violence The paper explores the subject of domestic violence, the long-term effects domestic violence has on victims, and how criminal justice addresses the issue.
  • Domestic Violence: Case Study Description Proponents of this model argue that some men will apply diverse tactics to manipulate and control women, such as domestic abuse and violence.
  • Domestic Violence in the Military Domestic violence is a pervasive problem connected with PTSD, subsequent substance abuse, and occupational hazards that increase stress and result in marital conflict.
  • Domestic Violence During COVID-19 Pandemic The paper reviews the articles: “Home is not always a haven: The domestic violence crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic”, “Interpersonal violence during COVID-19 quarantine.”
  • Effect of Domestic Violence on Children Domestic violence is a serious issue that can have severe consequences for the development of children that grow up in such environments.
  • Domestic Violence Issues and Interventions The fact that domestic abuse victims often do not report their cases to the authorities leads to a difference between the actual number of incidents and the official statistics.
  • Domestic Violence Typology and Characteristics The typology of domestic violence is based on the nature of the abusive act and provides clues to the underlying reasons for it.
  • Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Maternity Domestic abuse directly impacts maternity as women experiencing a hostile environment feel that the conditions are dangerous to personal health and the well-being of a child.
  • Child Abuse, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence The paper analyzes three types of victimization: child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. It gives definitions, describes causes and effects of these crimes.
  • Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Children Domestic violence is a complex phenomenon, which has emotional, behavioral, social, cognitive, and physical consequences for children.
  • Domestic Violence and Workplace Environment Domestic violence worsens employees’ performance. The entire workplace environment suffers if a single employee is subject to domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence and Its Main Categories When it comes to domestic violence, there are many categories. These include economic abuse, male privilege use, verbal abuse, isolation, emotional abuse, and intimidation.
  • Domestic Abuse and Intimate Partner Violence Domestic abuse and intimate partner violence presents a significant public health problem, and individuals from different backgrounds can be exposed to it.
  • Domestic Violence in Melbourne: Impact of Unemployment Due to Pandemic Restrictions The purpose of this paper is to analyze to what extent does unemployment due to pandemic restrictions impact domestic violence against women in Melbourne.
  • Domestic Violence and Cyber Abuse This paper discusses the issue of domestic violence and elder abuse, including the types of abuse and the vulnerability of elders with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • The Domestic Violence Effects on Witnessing Children This paper analyzes the effects that domestic violence has on children that bear witness to it. It causes a child to develop severe physical and/or mental problems.
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Programs Identification of the weaknesses portrayed by domestic violence programs promotes the provision of adequate strategies to mitigate the problem.
  • Working With Victims of Domestic Violence Domestic violence is nowadays a talk of the day; new cases emerge daily. Families have issues that most can amicably resolve while others cannot and can advance to violence.
  • Domestic Violence: Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Domestic violence, meaning a violent act committed against a person in a domestic relationship such as a spouse, a relative, or a dating or sexual partner.
  • Domestic Violence: “Crime in Alabama” by Hudnall et al. The consequences of domestic violence can be associated with deterioration in the population’s quality of life, psychological problems, or even the victim’s death.
  • The #Metoo Movement Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse In opposition to the injustice toward women, the #MeToo movement emerged to fight sexism and harassment, including the struggle for the detention of gender-based violence.
  • The Problem of Domestic Violence As a global public health and human rights concern, domestic violence affects the lives of millions of individuals throughout the entire world.
  • An Inside View of Police Officers’ Experience with Domestic Violence “An Inside View of Police Officers’ Experience with Domestic Violence” is an article authored by Horwitz et al., published in 2011.
  • Domestic Violence in the US During the COVID-19 The more physically or psychologically vulnerable groups of the population are often subjected to various forms of violence by the more resistant groups.
  • Domestic Violence in the African American Community Black women have suffered domestic violence mostly because of gender, race, and poverty, the poor economic conditions have fueled domestic violence in families and fighting.
  • Domestic Violence and Survivors Support Domestic violence is a type of violence or any other form of abuse in a domestic setting, victims of which can be both adults and children.
  • Racialized Rhetoric: Domestic Violence and Muslim Community The work analyzes the rhetoric in the news article, which discusses forced marriage and compares it to the existing research regarding violence against women and racialization in the media.
  • The Bill of Rights: the Case of Domestic Violence Jessica Gonzales is a case of domestic violence. She is a lady that has fallen victim to being shut out of court.
  • Reducing Cases of Domestic Violence at All Stages of Pregnancy This essay suggests that intervention mechanisms should be established to reduce cases of domestic violence at all stages of pregnancy.
  • Volunteering in the Social Project Providing Legal Assistance to the Domestic Violence Victims Although the U.S. is a progressive country, one in four its women experiences severe partner physical violence.
  • Domestic Violence in America Governmental and non-governmental agencies have often argued that domestic violence is a serious social problem in America.
  • The Importance of Domestic Violence Law Domestic violence is a big problem of many families, especially taking into consideration that many victims do not report it as they are not aware of domestic violence laws.
  • Domestic Violence and Its Impacts on Children Domestic violence has serious impacts on children. When they grow up in a violent environment, they get affected psychologically and sometimes physically.
  • The Reluctance of Gay, Lesbian Victims to Report Domestic Violence Members of the gay community suffer from domestic violence in almost the same magnitude as members of the heterosexual community.
  • Community Action vs. Domestic Violence Against Australian Women Strengthening community action in the area of domestic violence against Australian women is one of the greatest decisions which are provided now in Australian society.
  • Community and Domestic Violence: Elder Abuse Perhaps the most common type of elder abuse is neglect; this refers to the refusal or failure to provide basic needs such as food, shelter or healthcare to vulnerable adults.
  • Ku Klux Klan Ban and Domestic Violence and Race Issues Ku Klux Klan should be declared a terrorist organization and banned for the benefit of the community as a whole.
  • Community and Domestic Violence: Violence Against Women The most known form of domestic violence is physical or battering, which causes pain and injury and it involves beating, choking, pushing, biting, kicking, and others.
  • Domestic Violence Problem Overview and Analysis The macro-sociological theory tells that the root of violence in families lies within the core system of society and is a reaction to harmful events inside and outside the family.
  • New York State Domestic Violence Statics Family violence has been revealed to cause a lot of problems in which; family issues remain unsolved for long, once spouses get into frequent domestic violence.
  • Domestic Violence – A Grave Societal Concern Our community faces issues that relate to violence committed on women and for every reason to enjoy conjugal life there is also the need to bear with violence.
  • Domestic Violence. “No Visible Bruises” by Snyder A review of the book “No Visible Bruises” by Snyder provides an opportunity to assess the diverse nature of the manifestations of domestic violence in families.
  • Involving the Health Care System in Domestic Violence “Involving the Health Care System in Domestic Violence: What Women Want” points out the importance of integrating socially accepted means to break the silence related to domestic violence.
  • Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence Treatment One of the most apparent examples of how exposure to abusive relationships can have adverse outcomes is the nurse practitioner who experienced abuse and manipulation in the past.
  • Nurses Caring for Domestic Violence Victims The past experiences of family violence certainly allow nurses to become aware of the nature and processes involved in these situations.
  • Changing Course in the Anti-Domestic Violence Legal Movement To address the problem of domestic violence, it is necessary to propose a complex program as a response to this social issue.
  • The Realities of Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Our Society The topic of domestic violence was chosen not only for its relevance but also because of the hope to shed light on the adverse influence that the issue has on people.
  • Domestic Violence and Non-Therapeutic Interventions In the United States, the issue of domestic violence is closely related to other misfortunate circumstances in people’s lives.
  • Domestic Violence as a Topic for Academic Studies The topic selected for the research deals with family issues and is critical for society. Domestic violence is reported all over the world that is why it should not be ignored.
  • Domestic Violence in the US of the Last Decade The issue of domestic violence is a global societal problem. In most cases, women are the main victims of this uncivilized behavior with men being the perpetrators.
  • Domestic Violence: Control and Prevention Domestic violence occurs when a person is abused by another in the same family. This form of violence is common in relationships, marriages, and families.
  • Domestic Violence Experienced by Psychiatric Patients Oram et al. believe that the incidence of domestic violence and abuse can be associated with the victimization among the patients with psychiatric disorders.
  • Domestic Violence Problem: Psychiatric Patients The problem of domestic violence experienced by psychiatric patients is particularly acute now that the statistics show the rapidly growing number of the cases of family abuse.
  • Domestic Violence as a Research Topic The family abuse that took place in the community, often affected women, elder members of the family, and children.
  • Domestic Violence in Federal and State Legislation Despite the fact that much remains to be done to solve the problem of violence in the family, the state and society have contributed to changing the current situation.
  • Domestic Violence as a Pressing Issue This work examines a course project on the topic of domestic violence as a pressing issue on which the public cannot come to an agreement.
  • Domestic Violence Article and Conservation Model This essay examines the article “Violence against women and its consequences” and assesses the article’s strengths and weaknesses using the conservation model.
  • Domestic Violence in Same/Opposite-Sex Relationships In their article, Banks and Fedewa investigate counselors’ attitudes toward domestic violence in same-sex versus opposite-sex relationships.
  • Child Corporal Punishment as Domestic Violence The public widely accepts a differentiation between domestic violence and corporal punishment, although the latter can be damaging to children’s health and well-being.
  • Domestic Violence in Same-Sex Relationships The article “A Same-Sex Domestic Violence Epidemic Is Silent” by Shwayder addresses the issue of domestic abuse as one of the key concerns of contemporary societal concerns.
  • Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Practitioners aim pharmacology-based IPV intervention strategies at relieving the effects of abuse that victims encounter, which may range from mild distress to PTSD.
  • Domestic Violence Among Black Immigrant Women This study shows that domestic violence is more prevalent among black immigrant women as compared to other women in the United States.
  • Domestic Violence Victims’ Needs Assessment To address domestic violence, it is important to perform a needs assessment and collect the data to develop an effective strategy to withstand domestic violence.
  • Nurse’s Help and Policy for Domestic Violence Victims Nurses often found themselves deprived of opportunities to help their patients who are victims of violence because of policy restrictions.
  • Domestic Violence Negative Impact on the People Psyche The question of the project is whether children who have experienced domestic violence demonstrate irreversible changes in their mentalities that shift their behaviors to deviant.
  • Domestic Violence in the US: Effects on Children Domestic violence is a common practice in many countries. This study finds out how domestic violence affects children in the USA.
  • “Addressing Domestic Violence Against Women” by Kaur and Gang Kaur and Gang present arguable aspects regarding ways of addressing the problem of domestic violence against women. Different individuals have divergent views on this subject.
  • Domestic Violence Problem and the Impact on the Children’s Psyche The research question of this paper is whether domestic violence results in irreversible changes in children’s mentality and psyche and how its negative impact could be mitigated.
  • Domestic Violence and Victims’ Resistance This paper defines, discusses, and solves the problem of domestic violence to guarantee the improvement in the sphere and victims’ ability to resist this problem.
  • Domestic Violence, Its Existing and New Solutions Domestic violence is a problem that is researched and monitored by various agencies. Different social care establishments try to create a system for possible interventions.
  • Domestic Violence Study and Lessons Learnt Apart from shedding a lot of light on the nature of abusive relationships, the project on domestic violence and abuse helped me develop new research skills.
  • Domestic Violence in the Health Policy Domestic violence is a crucial issue that has to be addressed in order to eradicate abuse and help the patients to overcome the issue of retained supremacy.
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse Countermeasures At the moment, the civilized world condemns domestic violence and has introduced different measures to protect people from this remnant of the past.
  • Mental Health and Domestic Violence in Bangladesh The paper reviews Ziaei et al.’s article “Experiencing lifetime domestic violence: Associations with mental health and stress among pregnant women in rural Bangladesh.”
  • Domestic Violence by an Intimate Partner Most people, especially women, are rejecting any form of violence in intimate relationships as a legitimate social norm. The major factor is the diffusion of global norms.
  • Domestic Violence and Public Awareness This academic research increases the audience’s understanding of the severity of the topic of domestic violence and raises public awareness.
  • Domestic Violence Intervention in Health Care Domestic violence is a concept that can be described as emotional, verbal, sexual or any other existing kind of abuse that may scare the victim.
  • Conservation Model and Domestic Violence The analysis reveals that domestic violence provokes a chain of negative reaction in females’ structural, social, and personal integrity, and energy.
  • Nursing and Midwifery Recognizing Domestic Violence The paper reviews the article “Are We Failing to Prepare Nursing and Midwifery Students to Deal with Domestic Abuse?” by Bradbury-Jones & Broadhurst.
  • Domestic Violence in America, Asia, and Africa The paper investigates the issue of domestic violence in the United States and several other cultures, namely, in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, and Brazil.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment and Domestic Violence The histories of child abuse and neglect form the present behavior of a person a define his administering treatment needs regarding the fact of whether a person was sexually or emotionally abused.
  • The Origin of Domestic Violence The present research is to define the origin of domestic violence and the measures that can be taken in order to lessen the influence of the discovered reason.
  • Domestic Violence in Florida The mission of the Florida Department’s Domestic Violence Program is to contribute to creating the safe environments for the victims of domestic violence.
  • Battered Woman Syndrome as a Theoretical Explanation of Domestic Violence Effects Battered Woman Syndrome is an inductive theory that seeks to explain the reactions of women when they are subjected to domestic violence.
  • Resilience and Growth in the Aftermath of Domestic Violence In this paper, the discussion centers on the concept of resilience, spirituality, and its application in the aftermath of domestic violence.
  • African American Women: Domestic Violence and Integrity At present, gender profiling still remains an issue, and the present-day African American communities are infamously known as a graphic example of women abuse in society.
  • The Impact of Abusive Experiences on Nursing Practitioner’s Performance With the Victims of Domestic Violence This paper aims to discuss positive and negative tendencies that could emerge in the mentioned circumstances.
  • Problems of the Domestic Violence Domestic violence is gaining notoriety each passing day. More and more women are falling victims to this social ill at an alarming rate.
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StudyCorgi. (2021, September 9). 159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/domestic-violence-essay-topics/

"159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics." StudyCorgi , 9 Sept. 2021, studycorgi.com/ideas/domestic-violence-essay-topics/.

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1. StudyCorgi . "159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/domestic-violence-essay-topics/.


StudyCorgi . "159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/domestic-violence-essay-topics/.

StudyCorgi . 2021. "159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics." September 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/ideas/domestic-violence-essay-topics/.

These essay examples and topics on Domestic Violence were carefully selected by the StudyCorgi editorial team. They meet our highest standards in terms of grammar, punctuation, style, and fact accuracy. Please ensure you properly reference the materials if you’re using them to write your assignment.

This essay topic collection was updated on January 8, 2024 .

Safety Starts with Anti-Racism. Click here to read more.

Understanding the Intersections

Interpersonal violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children, and the need for safe and affordable housing is one of the most pressing concerns for survivors of violence and abuse. Many survivors face unique barriers to accessing shelter and affordable housing due to the power and control dynamics involved in these types of abuse and the economic and trauma impacts that result. These barriers are often exacerbated for those most marginalized in our society and with the least access to resources, including many survivors of color, Native Americans, immigrants, those living in poverty and geographically isolated, survivors with disabilities, and others. In addition, systemic factors such as institutional discrimination and the lack of affordable housing in communities create further challenges for many survivors. At the same time, housing programs can provide critical services for survivors and are often a key component in helping survivors find safety and stability.

  = web resource       = downloadable file

Learn more about the intersections between domestic violence, sexual assault, housing, and homelessness from available studies, literature reviews, and reports.

RESEARCH BRIEF: 'There's Just All These Moving Parts:' Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Obtain Housing

Advocates working with domestic violence (DV) survivors to obtain housing are committed to the principles of Housing First and Rapid Rehousing that recommend getting clients into permanent housing as quickly as possible. They struggle, however, with how “as quickly as possible” may be defined by funders and policy makers who do not fully understand the intricacies of their efforts. The purpose of this study was to better understand the complexities involved in helping IPV survivors obtain safe and stable housing.

RESEARCH BRIEF: IPV Survivors' Perceptions of How a Flexible Funding Housing Intervention Impacted Their Children

An estimated 15.5 million American children are exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) every year. Such exposure negatively impacts children’s health, development and academic performance and may also be accompanied by housing instability or homelessness. Children growing up with periods of homelessness or housing instability are at risk for many of the same detrimental outcomes as children exposed to IPV. This brief highlights key findings from a qualitative, longitudinal study examining mothers’ perceptions of how receipt of flexible funding designed to increase their housing stability may have also impacted their children’s safety, stress, mood and behavior.

Common Ground, Complementary Approaches: Adapting the Housing First Model for Domestic Violence Survivors

The Housing First model has been shown to be a highly effective approach to achieving permanent housing for chronically homeless individuals with serious mental illness and chemical dependency. There are numerous components of the model that lend themselves toward achieving similar goals for homeless domestic violence (DV) survivors and their children. A leading cause of homelessness for women, many of whom are mothers, is DV. This article describes the commonalities between the Housing First model and the tenets of DV victim advocacy work and explores how Housing First can be adapted to effectively achieve safe and stable housing for DV survivors and their children. Preliminary evidence for the adapted model – termed Domestic Violence Housing First – is provided, and policy implications are discussed.

Creating Safe Housing Options for Survivors: Learning From and Expanding Research

This research brief provides a brief overview of the current and expanding evidence behind best practices in helping domestic violence survivors obtain safe and stable housing. It begins with evidence for three common core components of this work: mobile advocacy, flexible funding, and attending to safety. It then provides evidence for how services should be provided: survivor-driven, trauma-informed, and voluntary.

Flexible Funding: Assessing the Impact of DASH’s Survivor Resilience Fund on Survivor Well-Being

Describes results of an evaluation of DASH's Survivor Resilience Fund, a low-barrier and trauma informed approach to homelessness prevention for survivors.

From Organizational Culture to Survivor Outcomes: A Process And Outcome Evaluation Of The District Alliance For Safe Housing

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is a large, community-based organization located in Washington, D.C. It aims to provide services that promote self-determination, autonomy and safety for all survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, sex trafficking, same-sex IPV, and homelessness. DASH also engages in systems advocacy to increase survivors’ safe housing options throughout the housing continuum. DASH uses low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-informed approaches to service delivery in order to enact their core beliefs:integrity, sovereignty, empowerment, accountability, partnerships, compassion, and re-centering. In 2013, evaluators from Michigan State University’s Research Consortium on Gender Based Violence collaborated with DASH to implement a process and outcome evaluation of DASH's program model. This document summarizes their findings.

A Promising Approach to Prevent Homelessness for Domestic Violence Survivors

This presentation describes how flexible funds are employed in a DV housing program in Washington DC as a means to prevent homelessness for survivors. Further, it discusses the elements and results of a longitudinal pilot study that tested whether this project (DASH's Survivor Resiliency Fund) represents a promising strategy to prevent homelessness for survivors of intimate partner violence.

Establishing Domestic Violence Housing First in California: A Process Evaluation

In 2016, 8 agencies in California piloted the Domestic Violence Housing First Model (DVHF), an initiative that focuses on helping survivors get into safe and stable housing as quickly as possible, and on providing services to help them move forward with their lives. This process evaluation documents what it takes for agencies to implement the DVHF model and provides preliminary evidence for its impact on the lives of survivors and their children.

TECHNICAL REPORT: Exploring Domestic Violence Survivors' Need for Transitional Housing

One approach for DV survivors who require housing assistance and supportive services for a longer period of time is transitional housing (TH), which provides an apartment or rental unit, along with rental assistance and supportive services for up to two years, allowing survivors time to work on any barriers they face to securing permanent housing and to heal from the trauma they have experienced. Another approach for DV survivors is rapid re-housing (RRH), which allows DV survivors to locate their own apartment and to receive rental assistance and supportive services for a period of time.This study explored the ways in which DV survivors experienced a TH program that they were currently enrolled in, as well as their perceptions about whether RRH would have been a good fit for them given different durations of rental assistance and supportive services.

2017 Safe Housing Needs Assessment: Results Overview

In 2017, the National Alliance for Safe Housing, in collaboration with the Domestic Violence and Housing TA Consortium and other key partners, developed and disseminated a national Safe Housing Needs Assessment to gather input from community service providers, coalitions and continuums of care. This assessment -- the first of its kind -- aimed at simultaneously reaching the domestic and sexual violence field and the homeless and housing field. It gathered information on topics ranging from the extent to which both fields coordinate to provide safety and access to services for domestic and sexual violence survivors within the homeless system, to ways in which programs are implementing innovative models to promote long-term housing stability for survivors and their families. This report provides an overview of the key findings from the 2,000+ people who participated in the needs assessment.

Housing Barriers and Emerging Practices to Centering Survivors: Findings from the NRCDV Needs Assessment

In 2022, NRCDV conducted a Needs Assessment project to document the current and emerging barriers to safe, stable, and accessible housing for BIPOC survivors, as well as the innovative practices implemented by grassroots organizations and community-based agencies to address survivors' housing needs. It included a desk review, listening sessions with service providers and survivor-advocates, and interviews with researchers. 

Needs Assessment Report: Promising Practices and Interventions to Address the Housing Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) conducted a two-part needs assessment project. The first part of the assessment documented domestic violence survivors' current and emerging housing needs, centering on the perspectives of marginalized populations, particularly Black and Brown communities. The second part of the assessment documented the innovative practices, promising housing approaches, and interventions implemented in the field by grassroots organizations and community-based agencies to address the housing needs of survivors. 

Viviendo Con Dignidad: Las Experiencias de Sobrevivientes Latinas Inmigrantes (Infograph)

Lecciones aprendidas de una investigación participativa de base comunitaria. El equipo de investigación fue formado por personas de una organización de base comunitaria y otras personas de una institución académica.Todos los procedimientos del estudio, incluyendo la recopilación de datos, análisis e interpretación de datos se realizaron en español.

This infograph highlights the lessons learned from the community-based participatory research study Viviendo Con Dignidad: Las Experiencias de Sobrevivientes Latinas Inmigrantes" (Translation: Living with Dignity: Lived Experiences of Latina Immigrant Survivors). The research team was made up of people from community-based organizations and others from academic institutions. All study procedures, including data collection, data analysis, and interpretation were conducted in Spanish. The study and infograph were then translated into English. 

Viviendo Con Dignidad: Las Experiencias de Sobrevivientes Latinas Inmigrantes

Este informe es una construcción colectiva de conocimiento en la que articulamos la sabiduría de un grupo de mujeres sobrevivientes de violencia de género de una organización de base comunitaria desde sus propias vivencias junto con los conocimientos metodológicos de un equipo de investigación académico. Es nuestra intención reconocer la capacidad y el poder profundo de los grupos comunitarios de crear conocimiento, como también resaltar nuestro compromiso con estudios de investigación que no son extractivistas del conocimiento y el saber de las comunidades de la mayoría global a través de procesos de investigación participativa. Nuestra colaboración es entre Madre Tierra, una organización Latina de base comunitaria que provee servicios de apoyo a sobrevivientes de violencia de género en Virginia, Maryland y Washington DC y la División de Justicia Lingüística del Consorcio de Investigación en Violencia de Género de la Universidad Estatal de Michigan.

Process Evaluation of a Flexible Funding Pilot Program to Prevent Homelessness among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Survivors (Report)

The LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania (PA) received funding from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) to pilot a flexible financial assistance model. This process evaluation was undertaken to document the organization's background and service model, what it takes for the organization to implement the flexible financial assistance model, and to provide preliminary evidence for its impact on the lives of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ survivors. This report summarizes the findings from this evaluation to offer guidance to other organizations. This includes the challenges encountered and lessons learned in the implementation process along with preliminary evidence of the success of the flexible financial assistance model. 

Process Evaluation of a Flexible Funding Pilot Program to Prevent Homelessness among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Survivors (Infograph)

This infograph highlights the information presented within the report titled "Process Evaluation of a Flexible Funding Pilot Program to Prevent Homelessness among BIPOC and LGBTQ+ Survivors". It identifies what the guiding principles of flexible funding are, how funds were distributed, outcomes, and lessons learned from the evaluation. 

The State of Homelessness in America 2016

The State of Homelessness in America 2016 is the sixth in a series of reports charting progress in ending homelessness in the United States. It is intended to serve as a desktop reference for policymakers, journalists, and community and state leaders.

Out of Reach 2018: The High Cost of Housing

NLIHC’s annual report, Out of Reach, documents the gap between wages and the price of housing across the United States. The report’s Housing Wage is an estimate of the hourly wage that a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on rent and utility costs. The report indicates that housing costs are "out of reach" for both for the average renter and for millions of low-wage workers, seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other low-income households. In no county, even those where the minimum wage has been set above the federal level, can a minimum wage renter working a 40-hour work week afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. 

Downtown Women's Needs Assessment

The 2016 Downtown Womens' Needs Assessment is a community-based research project, and the sixth in a series of comprehensive surveys on the needs, characteristics, and conditions facing homeless and extremely low-income women living in downtown Los Angeles.

Domestic Violence and Homeless Services Coalition Focus Group Report: Survivor Solutions to Program and Systems Change

In Los Angeles County, the number of women experiencing homelessness increased by a staggering 55% between 2013 and 2016. Research shows that domestic violence is a primary driver into homelessness for women and that gender-based violence is the most significant difference between men and women experiencing homelessness. The purpose of this report is to give voice to the opinions and perspectives of those with lived experience to guide client-centered systems change and develop coordinated community responses that meet the direct needs of this population.

Housing & Sexual Violence Research Brief

This research brief explores the relationship between housing issues, homelessness, and sexual violence. The research reviewed indicates that residents of subsidized housing and people who are homeless experience disproportionate rates of sexual violence.

Women Need Safe, Stable, Affordable Housing: A Study of Social, Private and Co-op Housing in Winnipeg

This study looked at gender-specific issues related to housing programs in Winnipeg, Canada. Among other findings, safety was a key concern among women looking for housing. Researchers noted that many women have experienced domestic violence in their homes, and that women are more likely to stay in unsafe situations because of their inability to find other housing. Women in the study described having experienced sexual harassment from landlords, and reported that safety features such as lighting sensors and cameras in stairwells and elevators made them feel safer. The authors strongly recommend implementation of gender-based analysis in all housing policies and programs, and note that cooperative (shared) housing is greatly assistive to women with low incomes.

RESEARCH: Moving from Rhetoric to Reality: Adapting Housing First for Homeless Individuals with Mental Illness from Ethno-racial Groups

This research paper presents findings from an evaluation of a Housing First program for homeless individuals with mental illness in five cities across Canada. Conclusions from this research include that adapting Housing First with anti-racism/anti-oppression principles offers a promising approach to serving the diverse needs of homeless people from ethno-racial groups and strengthening the service systems developed to support them.

RESEARCH: Housing First Enhanced with Antiracism Practices Can Improve Housing Stability

Because of known differences in health care experiences and outcomes by race and ethnicity, researchers in Toronto tested the effectiveness of a Housing First program enhanced with antiracism and antioppression practices. The main principles of the antiracism and antioppression services delivered include empowerment, education, alliance building, language use, and advocacy. The study’s findings have key policy implications for Housing First interventions and suggest that Housing First enhanced with anti-racism and anti-oppression practices can improve housing stability and community functioning.

NRCDV 2022 Policy Brief: Emerging Solutions to Increase Affordable Housing Options for Survivors

This document covers the common barriers and challenges survivors have brought forth related to accessing housing security. It provides concrete steps and policy solutions that seeks to shift the landscape of housing access, inventory, and sustainability.

  • DV, SV, & Homelessness
  • Equity & Accessibility
  • Featured Research
  • District Alliance for Safe Housing and the Domestic Violence and Housing Taskforce
  • Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence Rapid Rehousing Program
  • Emergency Shelters
  • Transitional Housing
  • Responding to Funder Requirements
  • Partnering with and Participating in Homeless Continuums of Care
  • Coordinated Entry and Intake/Assessment Tools
  • HMIS and Comparable Databases
  • Rapid Re-Housing, Housing First, Housing Tax Credits, and Other A
  • Low Barrier Programs
  • Building Collaborative Relationships to Address Family Homelessness
  • Flexible Funds
  • Homelessness Prevention
  • Federal, State, and Local Laws and Protections
  • Confidentiality and Safety
  • Voluntary Services and Trauma-Informed Approaches
  • Working with Underserved or Marginalized Survivors
  • Economic Advocacy and Empowerment
  • Children and Youth
  • Survivor Toolkits
  • Advocate Toolkits
  • Technical Assistance
  • About The Consortium

Nicole Brown Simpson's Sisters Want You to Remember How She Lived, Not How She Died

The sisters of Nicole Brown Simpson hope a new documentary on her life will explore how she lived, and not just how she died

Nicole Brown Simpson's Sisters Want You to Remember How She Lived, Not How She Died


This undated image released by Lifetime shows a photo of Nicole Brown Simpson, subject of the documentary “The Life & Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson," airing Saturday on Lifetime. (Brown Family Photo/Lifetime via AP)

In the familiar images that circulated after her June 1994 death, Nicole Brown Simpson appears frozen in place.

She's a statuesque blonde with a tense smile, silently escorting famous husband O.J. Simpson. She’s the breezy California beauty behind the wheel of her white Ferrari. And she’s the somber woman, with telling bruises and a black eye, in the stark Polaroids locked away in a bank vault.

Thirty years later , Nicole’s three sisters want her remembered for more than those static images or the violent way she died. They fear the vibrant person they knew has been lost in the chaos of Simpson’s murder trial, the questions it raised about race in America and the headlines spawned by his recent death.

“It's seeing her move. It's hearing her talk, seeing her,” youngest sister Tanya Brown told The Associated Press of the joy she felt watching video clips of Nicole in a new Lifetime documentary. “(She's) someone who just was very warm, very warm-hearted and quirky.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story includes discussion of suicide and domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs help, the national suicide and crisis lifeline in the U.S. is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org. For the National Domestic Violence Hotline, please call 1-800-799-7233 in the U.S.

“Daddy’s taking movies again,” coos Nicole, who met Simpson when she was 18, as she cuddles her infant child on the beach. The home movie included in “The Life & Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson,” which airs this weekend, echoes one of her as a child with her own mother.

“She wanted to be like her mother,” said Melissa G. Moore, the executive producer. “Nicole wanted to be home, being a mother and creating a beautiful home.”

The innocence of the mother-and-child beach scene contrasts with friends’ memories of a cloud descending over the couple’s Laguna Beach home whenever Simpson arrived and another of him knocking her down in the water.

“Nicole was a very, very good hider of her domestic violence. She pushed everything under the rug and then would change the subject. And I think that was just all to protect herself and to protect everyone that she loved and her family,” Dominique Brown told the AP in a recent interview with her sisters.

Along with the Browns, the filmmakers spoke to friends both famous and infamous, including Simpson houseguest Brian “Kato” Kaelin, whose laid-back demeanor on the witness stand at the 1995 trial made him a household name; Faye Resnick, who wrote a tell-all book; and Kris Jenner, whose ex-husband Robert Kardashian, to her dismay, joined Simpson’s defense team.

Nicole’s two children, who have stayed out of the public eye and seemingly remained close to Simpson until his death last month, did not take part. They were both busy starting families of their own, Moore said.

But the sisters felt it was finally time to revisit Nicole’s life and legacy. They have grieved in different ways, and sometimes grew apart. Their parents have died.

Oldest sister Denise Brown, who gave wrenching trial testimony, never hesitated to pin the stabbing deaths of their sister and Ronald Goldman on Simpson, and became a vocal advocate for domestic violence victims. Although she had known the marriage was volatile, she did not think of Nicole at the time as a battered woman, even after Simpson was charged with assault on New Year’s Eve 1989. Nicole, after a week away, chose to return home afterward.

“She said, ‘I don’t want to ruin my children’s father’s life,’” Denise Brown recalled to the AP.

Dominique Brown focused on the couple's young children, Sydney and Justin, after Nicole's death. For more than a year, as Simpson sat in jail, she helped her aging parents raise them, along with her own son. Simpson won back custody after he was acquitted, later moving his children to Florida. Dominique said she remains close with the children today — and still doesn't know quite what to think.

“There are kids involved. And they don’t have their mother. I knew that somebody was to blame and I knew that somehow there was involvement. I didn’t know to what extent,” Dominique Brown says in the film, explaining why she refrained from commenting on Simpson's alleged role during the trial. “I still don’t know.”

Tanya Brown, a decade younger than Nicole, has felt waves of guilt over Nicole's death. At the 10-year mark, she tried to take her own life. In treatment, she thought: “She had a perfect opportunity to share something with me, to share her tumultuous relationship, you know? And she never did.”

All three believe that Nicole, like many victims, downplayed the abuse. She had always wanted the kind of happy family life her parents had provided them.

They had met in Germany, then built an affluent life for their girls in southern California. Nicole, a homecoming princess, was interested in photography. She enrolled in community college, but met Simpson in 1977 at a club where she worked. He was a 30-year-old NFL superstar and married father.

A childhood friend, David LeBon, remembers Nicole coming home from their first date in a Rolls Royce, with the zipper of her pants ripped. He wanted to confront Simpson.

“She said, ‘No, don’t. I really like him,’” LeBon recalls in the documentary.

They made a glamorous couple, and Simpson found more fame as an actor and TV pitchman. Nicole loved hosting people at his Los Angeles mansion, where they married in 1985. But those good times were interrupted by bouts of violence, according to the photos and diaries Nicole hid in a safe deposit box, and the repeated 911 calls she made seeking help, especially after they separated in the early 1990s.

And while they both had big personalities, the documentary makes clear how Simpson came to control her. Early on, he became angry when she kissed a male friend on the cheek at one of his Buffalo Bills games. He wanted all her attention when he returned home from a trip. He derided her for getting “fat” during her pregnancies and wanted her to avoid vaginal deliveries and nursing to keep her body intact.

“He had turned her into the perfect wife, and that’s what he expected of her,” Resnick says in the film.

At the time, domestic violence was largely deemed a private matter. Nicole's death helped bring it out of the shadows.

“The family saw some of this stuff, but they didn’t have a name for it,” said Patti Giggans, a nonprofit director in Los Angeles who has worked on domestic violence since the 1970s, and spoke frequently on it during Simpson's trial. “They were pretty helpless.”

Not long after Nicole died, then-Sen. Joe Biden invited Denise Brown to Washington to lobby support for the Violence Against Women Act. It passed that fall, helping to fund shelters, hotlines and other services ever since.

Nicole herself called a helpline five days before she was killed, as Simpson’s stalking intensified. They had been on and off since their 1992 divorce, but finally, at 35, she was looking to make a clean break.

“She was on the cusp of a new life," said Moore, who found it difficult to realize how much Nicole had suffered in silence.

“This was a woman who couldn’t share the hell that she was going through with the people she loved. Not because she didn’t trust them, but because she wanted to protect them,” Moore said. “It must have been a very lonely experience for Nicole.”

Dale reported from Philadelphia. Associated Press journalist Brooke Lefferts contributed reporting from New York.

Copyright 2024 The  Associated Press . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos You Should See - May 2024

A voter fills out a ballot paper during general elections in Nkandla, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Wednesday May 29, 2024. South Africans are voting in an election seen as their country's most important in 30 years, and one that could put them in unknown territory in the short history of their democracy, the three-decade dominance of the African National Congress party being the target of a new generation of discontent in a country of 62 million people — half of whom are estimated to be living in poverty. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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Watch CBS News

Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters on documentary series 30 years after her murder: "Let's humanize Nicole"

By Kelsie Hoffman

May 29, 2024 / 12:59 PM EDT / CBS News

Next month marks 30 years since Nicole Brown Simpson was found dead outside her home in Brentwood, California.

Brown Simpson's ex-husband and former NFL star  O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder in the slayings of Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, in what was dubbed the " trial of the century ." Simpson, who died in April, was later found liable for their deaths by a jury in a civil trial. No one else has been tried in connection with the murders. 

Now, her sisters — Denise, Dominique and Tanya — and many of her loved ones are speaking out in a new four-part documentary series, " The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson ."

"I actually started conversations 10 years ago for the 20th anniversary, and then it just didn't feel right," said Brown Simpson's sister Denise Brown. "And so we tried the 25th anniversary and it didn't feel right then, either. And then I asked my sisters, I said, 'Do you guys want to do something? Let's humanize Nicole. Let's let Nicole's voice be heard. Let's tell her story, let's tell it to the world. Let people get to know who Nicole really was.'"

Denise Brown said in an interview on "CBS Mornings" that during the process of creating the documentary, they learned things about their sister that they didn't know.

"There's tough things in this documentary, and there's things that we learned about in this documentary that kind of took us like 'Whoa,' we were shocked about it, too. So, it was a learning experience for us. It's going to be a huge learning experience for the world to get to know Nicole."

According to Lifetime , the documentary features 50 participants, who reveal more about Brown Simpson's life and killing at 35 years old.

"Watching and listening to this documentary, I walked away very angry because I had no idea what a horrible person he was to her," Tanya Brown said of O.J. Simpson.

The sisters also hope the documentary series sheds new light on the needed resources for domestic violence victims. Denise Brown encouraged people to get involved by volunteering at domestic violence shelters, and to be mindful of the shame attached to being a survivor of domestic violence.

"I asked Nicole all the wrong questions," Denise Brown said. "I said, 'Why? Why are you with him?' And those are the questions you don't want to ask a victim of domestic violence. You want to be supportive. You want to listen."

Through the heartbreak and tragedy, Brown Simpson's sisters have tried to remember their sister as carefree.

"She was a beach girl, and then she had children, and she loved her children, and I think that she got to feel that the last two years of her life," Dominique Brown said. "I think that freedom reemerged ... seeing her in that period of time, running, being with her children, going to recitals, doing things with the kids and the family and all of that. I think that ease came back to her, and I love that. We'd like to remember Nicole smiling."

  • Nicole Brown Simpson

Kelsie Hoffman is a push and platform editor on CBS News' Growth and Engagement team. She previously worked on Hearst Television's National Desk and as a local TV reporter in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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  6. Narcissistic Abuse Destroys your Vocabulary and Linguistic skills


  1. Domestic Violence Research Topics

    Domestic violence research paper topics can be divided into seven categories: Victims of domestic violence, Theoretical perspectives and correlates to domestic violence, Cross-cultural and religious perspectives, Understudied areas within domestic violence research, Domestic violence and the law, Child abuse and elder abuse, and.

  2. Barriers and facilitators of disclosing domestic violence to the

    1. INTRODUCTION. Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, is a large public health problem in the UK and worldwide (Campbell et al., 2002; Hegarty et al., 2004; World Health Organization, 2013a).According to the Department of Health one in four women and one in six men in England and Wales suffer domestic violence in some form.

  3. 153 Domestic Violence Essay Topics & Samples

    It affects people of all genders and sexualities. Domestic violence involves many types of abuse, including sexual and emotional one. Essays on domestic violence can enhance students' awareness of the issue and its causes. Our tips will be useful for those wanting to write outstanding domestic violence essays.

  4. Research & Evidence

    The Domestic Violence Evidence Project (DVEP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year and highly collaborative effort designed to assist state coalitions, local domestic violence programs, researchers, and other allied individuals and organizations better respond to the growing emphasis on identifying and integrating evidence-based practice into their work. . DVEP brings together research, evaluation ...

  5. Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence

    If you are in danger, call a local hotline, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or, if it is safe to do so, 911. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential and anonymous support 24/7. Reach out by phone at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224. Loveisrespect provides teens and young adults confidential and anonymous support.

  6. 40 questions with answers in VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

    Question. 11 answers. May 23, 2019. Despite unprecedented upsurge of movements for women's rights, equality, safety and justice, the crime against women and girls is still continuing. Gender ...

  7. Domestic Violence Research

    The world's largest domestic violence research data base, 2,657 pages, with summaries of 1700 peer-reviewed studies. Courtesy of the scholarly journal, Partner Abuse ... and then catalogue and summarize all known research studies relevant to each major topic and its sub-topics. In the interest of thoroughness and transparency, the researchers ...

  8. A qualitative quantitative mixed methods study of domestic violence

    Violence against women is one of the most widespread, persistent and detrimental violations of human rights in today's world, which has not been reported in most cases due to impunity, silence, stigma and shame, even in the age of social communication. Domestic violence against women harms individuals, families, and society. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and ...

  9. Qualitative study to explore the health and well-being impacts on

    Domestic violence (DV) is hazardous to survivors' health, from injuries sustained and from resultant chronic physical and mental health problems. Support from friends and relatives is significant in the lives of DV survivors; research shows associations between positive support and the health, well-being and safety of survivors.

  10. Home

    A CBPR Toolkit For Domestic Violence Researchers. This toolkit is for researchers across disciplines and social locations who are working in academic, policy, community, or practice-based settings. In particular, the toolkit provides support to emerging researchers as they consider whether and how to take a CBPR approach and what it might mean ...

  11. Ethical and safe: Research with children about domestic violence

    The examples are from research with children about domestic violence, child abuse, family separation and conflict. Questions to children about their lives are framed by methodologies and context, but the questions are also moderated by the extent to which the violence has been named.

  12. Asking the Right Questions? A Critical Overview of ...

    Purpose We undertake a critical analysis of UK longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional population surveys which ask about experiences of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA). Method Seven relevant UK representative population-based surveys which ask about IPVA among adults and/or young people (16-17 years old) were identified. We critically engage with the questionnaires to analyse ...

  13. PDF Research Integrity Framework on Domestic Violence and Abuse

    Most research will recruit participants as victims-survivors of abuse through gatekeeping organisations. This ensures that individuals have access to support services and that the risks of taking part in the research are mediated. Access to support services alongside participation in the research process is good practice.

  14. Topic Guide

    About Domestic Violence. Domestic violence describes abuse perpetrated by one partner against another in the context of an interpersonal relationship. Domestic violence can be committed by current or former partners. The alternate term intimate partner violence has gained favor in the twenty-first century, as it expands the definition to ...

  15. Domestic violence and abusive relationships: Research review

    The lifetime prevalence of physical violence by an intimate partner was an estimated 31.5% among women and in the 12 months before taking the survey, an estimated 4.0% of women experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. An estimated 22.3% of women experienced at least one act of severe physical violence by an intimate ...

  16. Methodological and Ethical Issues Related to the Study of Domestic

    The Research Integrity Framework on Domestic Violence and Abuse (Women's Aid et al., 2020) emerged from discussions between academic researchers and organisations with a long and successful record in raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse, and in influencing change. It highlights that the ethical dimensions of research are not ...

  17. Women escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing: an

    Background This integrative review summarises original research that explores women's experiences of escaping domestic violence to achieve safe housing. Methods Integrative review. A robust search strategy was conducted using the following databases: Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Cochrane, Medline and PubMed. All articles were assessed for quality using the ...

  18. Quantitative methods for researching domestic violence and abuse

    ABSTRACT. Quantitative methods are increasingly being used in domestic violence and abuse (DVA) settings to build evidence that can affect meaningful change. Ideally resulting in processes that are reproducible and results that can be comparable, quantitative methods are highly valued by many stakeholders, making them particularly useful to ...

  19. Research Topics on Domestic Violence

    By Matthew Lynch. January 25, 2023. 0. Spread the love. Research Topics on Domestic Violence. Why Should Domestic Violence Be Studied? What Does Domestic Violence Theory Explains? What Distinguishes Domestic Violence from IPV? Which Age Group Is Most Affected by Domestic Violence?

  20. Home

    Find available shelters and help anywhere in the nation. National Domestic Violence Hotline. Offers hotline and advocacy services. Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) Offers hotline, advocacy and training as well as a wealth of information on how to recognize and end domestic violence (including elder abuse and teen dating violence).

  21. The Challenges of Conducting Qualitative Research on "couples" in

    While there is a long history of quantitative research involving couples in abusive intimate partner relationships (Straus et al., 1996), there are few studies based on qualitative interviews with both partners, either separately or together (Band-Winterstein & Eisikovits, 2009; Boonzaier, 2008; Hydén, 1994).In this article, we discuss the approach taken and the challenges faced when ...

  22. How to Ask

    At SHC, the standardized intake admission and ED abuse screening question is: Written questions. Oral questions. Asking indirectly. Framing the question - this sets the stage for asking, so that the patient doesn't feel embarrassed that you singled her out to ask. Asking directly. SAFE questions - a series of sequential questions.

  23. 159 Domestic Violence Essay Topics

    The paper analyzes three types of victimization: child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. It gives definitions, describes causes and effects of these crimes. Domestic violence is a complex phenomenon, which has emotional, behavioral, social, cognitive, and physical consequences for children.

  24. Featured Research Related to Domestic Violence & Homelessness

    In Los Angeles County, the number of women experiencing homelessness increased by a staggering 55% between 2013 and 2016. Research shows that domestic violence is a primary driver into homelessness for women and that gender-based violence is the most significant difference between men and women experiencing homelessness.

  25. How to better support someone experiencing domestic violence

    Stay safe by staying connected — download and use the UCSafety App. Call the 24-hour Family Violence Helpline at 403-234-SAFE (7233), or 2-1-1. For sexual violence, text or call Alberta's One Line for Sexual Violence at 1-866-403-8000, or access its confidential chat service.

  26. Nicole Brown Simpson's Sisters Want You to Remember How She Lived, Not

    For the National Domestic Violence Hotline, please call 1-800-799-7233 in the U.S. "Daddy's taking movies again," coos Nicole, who met Simpson when she was 18, as she cuddles her infant ...

  27. Nicole Brown Simpson's sisters on documentary series 30 years after her

    The sisters also hope the documentary series sheds new light on the needed resources for domestic violence victims. Denise Brown encouraged people to get involved by volunteering at domestic ...

  28. A Good Reason to Vote for Trump

    A Good Reason to Vote for Trump. Democrats have made the election a referendum on their abuse of the justice system. Former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves ...

  29. Department of Human Services (DHS)

    Our mission is to assist Pennsylvanians in leading safe, healthy, and productive lives through equitable, trauma-informed, and outcome-focused services while being an accountable steward of commonwealth resources. DHS Executive Leadership.