Extent of violence and danger of homicide before and after abused women seek help




Willson, Pamela Carey

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A descriptive longitudinal study was conducted to evaluate the extent of violence and danger for homicide experienced by women before and after they filed assault against an intimate partner through a Family Violence Unit (FVU) of a large urban police department. A consecutive sample of 90 women were interviewed at the FVU using three instruments: Demographic Data Form (DDF), Danger Assessment (DA) (Campbell, 1986) scale, and Severity of Violence Against Women Scale (SVAWS) (Marshall, 1992). Of the women, 54% were African-American, 28% Latino/Hispanic, and 14% Caucasian. Ages ranged from 19 to 59 years ( M = 3 1, SD = 9.04). The majority of women were employed (n = 59, 65.6%) making less than $30,000 a year (n = 70, 77.8%). Of the initial 90 subjects, 83 women completed the 3- and 6-month follow-up interviews (92% retention rate). The SVAWS summated scores for two subscales—Threats of Violence and Actual Violence—and DA were analyzed using repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs). The women reported significant reductions in violence and danger of homicide between prefiling and 3-months and prefiling and 6-months. No change was found between the time frame of 3 and 6 months. The effect sizes for threats and actual abuse ranged from 1.87 to 2.65. Data indicated the intervention of referring women to the police was an appropriate intervention that can dramatically reduce the abused woman's extent of violence and danger of homicide for at least 6 months after the woman seeks to file assault charges.



Nursing, Criminology, Family life, Personal relationships, Sociology, Women's studies, Domestic violence, Manslaughter, Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Abused, Help-seeking, Homicide, Women victims