, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 165-173

From Respite to Transition: Women's Use of Domestic Violence Shelters in Rural New Mexico

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Women who flee violence in their intimate relationships often seek sanctuary at domestic violence shelters. Some return to their abusers, whereas others transition to separate living. This study used descriptive and cluster analyses to examine the differential needs of women who indicated they intended to return to their abusive partners versus those who did not. On the basis of the differences between these two groups, a preliminary model of prediction variables was developed to better understand the needs of those who did not specify their future plans after leaving the shelter. Findings revealed differences in the domains of mental health and help-seeking behaviors. Discussion focuses on the meaning and purpose of shelter stay (i.e., for respite or transition) and the role of shelters and their ideology in the decisions made by shelter staff and clients.